What are your answers to the most important and meaningful questions of life?

 


All of us, in one form or the other, have wondered about these kinds of things.  What’s more, we have answered them – sufficiently for ourselves.

Our answers to those kinds of questions collectively is called a worldview.  Our WORLDVIEW is our beliefs about the most important and meaningful questions of life.

Use the material below to explore worldviews, understand what you believe, and why you believe it.

 

The Nature Of Beliefs

Week 1: Group Discussion

Centered: Week 1

 

CENTERED INTRODUCTION

LEADER READ: This week officially marks the start of our long anticipated CENTERED Series! If this is the first you are hearing about it, that’s ok, we will get you up to speed quickly. The CENTERED Series is all about establishing a Christ-Centered Worldview. If you don’t know what a worldview is, we are simply defining it as… “what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.”

 

Each week we are going to discuss one of those “most important and meaningful questions” and compare the Christian Worldview’s answer and a number of other worldviews answer to that question. This week, instead of focusing on one major question, we are simply setting the table for the series by discussing the nature of belief.

 

Begin by reading Colossians 1:15-20 (we will read this each week) and then watch short film.

 

“15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

INTRO QUESTIONS

  1. If someone you know from work told you that a UFO beamed their dog up last night, would you believe them? What would they have to do or say to convince you that their story was true? Or…could nothing convince you?
  1. In general, why do you think we believe the things we do? How do we come to believe something?

LEADER NOTE: If your group need help getting started, some potential answers include…we believe things we find reasonable, we see evidence for, we have experience of, someone we trust has told us.

 

 

EVERYONE HAS A WORLDVIEW

LEADER READ: One important thing to note moving forward is that EVERYONE HAS A WORLDVIEW. You may be thinking, “I didn’t even know what a worldview was until 5 minutes ago, I don’t have a worldview.” However, whether we can articulate it or not…we all have a way we answer the most important and meaningful questions of life.”

 

Worldviews can be held…

  • Consistently or inconsistently
  • Consciously or unconsciously
  • True, partially true, or entirely false

 

 

A FISH STORY—by David Foster Wallace

LEADER READ: There were two young fish swimming along when they happened to meet a wise old fish swimming the other way. The old fish nods at the younger fish and says, ‘Morning boys, how’s the water?’ The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and says, ‘What the heck is water?”

 

  1. How do you think this story fits into the conversation about worldview?

 

(LEADER NOTE: Worldviews are often unconscious, yet we are surrounded by it, influenced by it, and see and live everything else through it)

 

  1. Do you identify more with the old fish (you are very conscious of the worldview you are trying to live out of) or the young fish (your just swimming)

 

  1. Give me an example of what it looks to live out a worldview inconsistently. For instance, how might a Christian to be living out a worldview inconsistently?

 

  1. One way to process the idea of inconsistency is to answer the following question…Do you think you can believe one set of beliefs in your mind…but embody/inhabit a different set of beliefs in your actions? If so, which is your true belief?

 

 

LEADER READ: Many argue that the reason so many of us live out our worldview unconsciously and inconsistently is that we no longer take time for reflection. This is not new. All the way back in 1654, mathematician, physicist, and theologian Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

 

  1. Do you think that is true? If so, why do we struggle with it?

 

  1. What would it take to become people who were comfortable with it?

 

 

YOUR CHOICE: REFLECTION OR ELECTROCUTION

LEADER READ: In 2014, researchers at the University of Virginia conducted an experiment with this exact dilemma in mind. Here’s what they did…

 

Researchers gathered a group of people. One at a time, they took them into a room with extremely low stimuli. The walls were white. There was only one chair in the room. No clocks on the wall, no paintings on the wall. Then, they took all of the subjects phones, keys, electronics, etc…anything that could engage them.

 

The challenge…sit for 20 minutes in the chair, without falling asleep, with only your thoughts. The researchers told subjects to simply relax and enjoy themselves.

 

There was however, one major twist. In this room, there was one button. If you pushed this button, you would receive a painful electric shock.

 

Just to remove the possible motivation of curiosity, the researchers had the subjects push this button and receive the shock before the experiment began. In fact, after the subjects received the shock, the researchers asked the subjects if they would “pay money to avoid being shocked again?” To which ALL of the subjects answered yes.

 

So…the experiment begins. 20 minutes with nothing but your own thoughts…or…push a button and receive a painful shock to stimulate you.

 

There was a very different response between men and women. 25% of women pushed the button.

 

  1. What percentage of men do you think pushed the button? Leader answer: 75%

 

  1. How do you think you would handle this experiment? Would you push the button?

 

  1. What does the Blaise Pascal’s quote and this experiment illustrate about the human experience in relation to the issue of living out a conscious and consistent worldview?

 

  1. In today’s culture, what are the biggest barriers to self-reflection? What would it take to overcome those barriers? AND…does it even seem worth it?

 

 

THE GRID

One of the things we want to do with the CENTERED Series is provide space and give you a grid to think through and process your own beliefs about the most important and meaningful questions of life. We hope that this grid will also help you process the cultural worldview claims we encounter on a regular basis and help you feel confident engaging in meaningful conversations with others.

 

Each week, we will examine one of the following worldview questions…

  • Where did it all come from?
  • Who are we? Why are we here?
  • What’s wrong with the world?
  • What’s the cure for what is wrong?
  • Is there hope?

 

We will filter that question through the following grid.

 

  1. CLAIMS– How does each worldview answer the question? What claims does it make?

 

  1. REASONS– What are the reasons each worldview makes such a claim? This will also include looking at the evidence surrounding the claim.

 

  1. IMPLICATIONS– Think of the word “IF.” IF this claim is true, what does that mean.

 

Have someone read 1 Corinthians 15:12-14

 

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

 

Q- What is Paul saying here and how does it relation to the topic of implications?

 

 

LEADER READ: Another good example of considering the implications is found in an interview titled, “Why Are We Here,” where Duke University professor, Alex Rosenberg shares the implications of his view, commonly described as scientism…that science can explain everything. When asked about his answer to a number of major questions, he quickly listed off his answers saying…

 

“So, is there a God? Of course not. What is the meaning of the universe? It doesn’t have any. What is the purpose of life? Ditto. Is there a difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There’s not a moral difference between them. What is the nature of the relationship between the mind and the brain? They’re identical. The mind is the brain. Is there free will? Not a chance. Do the lessons of the past have any particular bearing that would help us cope with the future? Less and less, if it ever had any at all.”

 

Regardless of what you think about his answers, this is a great example of a person who has actually thought through the implications of their belief. Which is one of the things we will process each week.

 

  

  1. ACTIONS—In light of the claim, reasons, and implications…how should it transform my heart? How should I live? What actions should I take?

 

 

GROUP ACTIVITY—WORLDVIEW ANALYSIS

LEADER READ: Christianity, like all religions, is not only a religion…it is also a worldview. They are not separated from reality; they are making claims about what reality consists of. To be viable, they all have to address the most important and meaningful questions of life. When we look at Scripture, the verses are not just some nice sayings about God…they are often actually informing us to the way we should view the world. The vision of life we should pursue.

 

  1. Break off into smaller groups of 3-4 (or you could choose to do as one large group)

 

  1. In your groups read Colossians 1:15-20

 

  1. As a group, make a list of claims this text makes about reality? What truth claims is it making?

 

  1. What are the implications of such claims?

 

  1. If the claims are true, what actions should it inspire?

 

  1. Come back together and share.

 

 

PRACTICE

LEADER READ: Even though Blaise Pascal and the University of Virginia Experiment illustrate just how hard it is to sit quietly with our minds, both Scripture and the spiritual masters throughout history see quiet reflection and contemplation as vital for a follower of Jesus. In light of that…

  • Find some space for self-reflection this week. Even if you only have 5-10 minutes, journal your thoughts on next weeks worldview question…Where did it all come from? Ask yourself these questions…
    • What do I believe (at least in my mind) about the origin of life?
    • How do I think the Christian Worldview would answer the question
    • What are my hang-ups/doubts about the Christian Worldview’s explanation?
    • How would/should it effect my view of the world and my actions if there really is a God that created the world and cares about the people in it?
    • Offer your reflections to God in prayer

 

 

PRAYER

Pray as you see fit.

 

 

BONUS QUESTION (If you have extra time)

  1. Reflect on the following quote. How does it speak to worldview?

 

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

– C. S. Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

Where Did It All Come From?

Week 2: Discussion

10-27-19 Huddle- Centered 2

 

Week 1 Recap

Leader Read: Last week we kicked off our CENTERED SERIES, which is all about establishing a Christ-Centered Worldview. Remember…our working definition of a worldview is, “what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.” Today we are going to examine the question, “Where did it all come from?” We will be using the following grid for all of the questions we address over the following weeks.

  1. Claims—What are the claims each worldview makes in answering the question
  2. Reasons—What are the reasons they make such a claim
  3. Implications—What are the implications in other areas of life if the claim is true…think “IF”……, Then…..
  4. Actions—What actions should it inspire? How should we live in response?

 

 

Easy Intro Question

  1. Are you a mountain or a beach person…or a Midwest humidity person? Why?

 

 

Practice Recap

Leader Read: Accountability Time—Last week we challenged everyone to spend some time in quiet reflection in preparation for this week. Is anyone willing to share from his or her experience? It doesn’t have to be overly spiritual or enlightening…you can even say, “I wanted to do it but never found the time.”

Just so I don’t catch you off guard next week, just know that moving forward, we will recap our practices each week at the beginning of group.

  

Watch Short Film

  1. What struck you from the film? Did you find any piece particularly compelling or moving? Did it raise any questions in your mind?

 

  1. The film used some words that we don’t often use in description of our every-day experience…words like astonishing, wonder, majesty and mystery. When was the last time you have been hit with “wonder”? Where were you? What were you doing?

 

  1. Do you think that a sense of wonder speaks to something spiritual in us? Why or why not? Why do we experience it?

 

 

Where Did it All Come From?

  1. What are some of the most common answers you hear to that question? (Beyond simply the Christian answer)

 

Leader Read: Today, what we want to do is take some of those answers and explore not just the claims, but the reasons, implications, and actions as well.

  

 

WORLDVIEW GRID—CLAIMS

Materialism/Naturalism WorldviewGenerally speaking, materialism and naturalism are just fancy words for the belief that holds that all that exists is matter…stuff like molecules, chemicals, atoms, electrons, etc. Nothing exists beyond the natural world…no soul, no spirit, no wonder…just matter. This could also generally be described as the atheistic view.

 

  1. In light of this…how do you think a philosophical materialist would answer the question, “where did it all come from?”

 

Leader Note– They would argue that everything came from matter and arises naturally…. naturally unguided evolution. Somehow, the first matter formed out of nothing and evolved into what we have today.

(In case people ask about evolution…the Christian Worldview allow space for the idea of guided evolution. So the problematic word is not evolution, it is unguided evolution.)

  

Pantheism or New Age WorldviewWhile you may not be familiar with the word PANTHEISM, I’m sure you have come across some form of this worldview. Generally speaking, Pantheism holds that the whole universe is eternal and divine. Not that God created the whole universe…but that the whole universe is God.

 

  1. How do you think someone with a pantheistic worldview would answer the question, where did it all come from?

 

Leader Note– This one is a little tricky. Although it seems to make sense to suggest the answer as God (of some kind), ultimately the answer is that it CAME from nowhere…it is eternal and has always been here.

 

Christian WorldviewThere is a large number of texts in the Bible that illustrate the Christian Worldview’s answer to the question, “where did it all come from?” However, over this series, we really want to get Colossians 1:15-20 down into our soul because it is believed to be one of the earliest and most complete statements of Jesus. So…even though we looked at it last week…let’s read it together again, keeping in mind the question “where did it all come from?”

 

COLOSSIANS 1:15-20

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

 

  1. How does this text answer the question, “where did it all come from?”

 

Leader Read: While there is a variety of views within the Christian worldview on the “how” God created (i.e. 7 literal days, guided evolutionary, intelligent design, day-age theory), the Christian worldview believes that the universe was created by a loving, transcendent (beyond space/time) and personal God.

 

  1. Using this description of the Christian worldview, can you name two points of difference or disagreement between the Christian Worldview and the Pantheistic or New Age Worldview?

Leader Note: 1—“the universe is created.” Pantheism holds that the universe is eternal. 2—“personal God.”  Pantheism holds that the divine or God is an impersonal creator.

 

  1. What about materialism or naturalism? Where does the Christian Worldview differ?

Leader Note: The materialist or naturalist would not agree that the world had any kind of creator, personal or otherwise.

 

Leader Read: While many of us don’t come across people in our daily lives that openly claim they are Pantheist, a Naturalist, or a philosophical Materialists, I hope that you can at least see how some of the ideas these worldviews hold sneak into the lives of the people and culture around us. Ideas like an impersonal and unknowable God, the only thing that we really know is the material, etc. Until we are actively seeking to live a consistent worldview, we all are generally a melting pot of inconsistent worldview mixtures.

 

 

Worldview Grid—Reasons

Leader Read: For this series, we are using the image of a scale for reasons. The idea behind using the scale is to illustrate that we ALL live in the tension of both belief and unbelief, faith and doubt. There are many solid reasons to believe in God, but we don’t deny that there are things, both intellectually and experientially, that we struggle with.

 

  1. We all have doubts. When you think of the doubt side of the scale, do these come from more intellectual reasons or experiential reasons? Things you think or things you experience? Share if you are comfortable.

Leader Note: While group members may naturally speak out of their own knowledge and experience to address other member’s doubts…as a leader, don’t feel the pressure…or even try…to do answer everyone’s doubt. Remind everyone that an important part of the spiritual journey is not trying to prematurely resolve doubts but to live in the tension of both doubt and faith. This tension—lived out in community—can lead to spiritual growth and transformation.

 

SMALLER GROUP ACTIVITY—Moving to the faith side of the scale, break down into smaller groups and see if you can come up with 3-5 reasons why it’s reasonable to believe that God (or some higher being) created the universe. These reasons can be experiential, intellectual, historical, etc. If you need help you can search the internet for help…although I have no idea what you will find!

 

 

Cosmological Argument—

Leader Note: If people are looking for more concrete and thorough examples of evidence for creation, point them to Bret’s message and the podcast. For the sake of time, we only have time to dive into one.

 

Leader Say: We have said that Pantheists believe in an eternal universe and that naturalists and philosophical materialists don’t believe in a creator at all. But what does the evidence say? Are there any arguments that speak to any of these claims directly or are Christians just going off of blind faith here.

 

We are going to check out a short YouTube video that helps put some weight behind these claims. It’s going to introduce one of the arguments for the existence of God…the Cosmological Argument.

 

Leader Note: If link doesn’t work, search “Reasonable Faith The Kalam Cosmological Argument”

 

  1. Did anything stand out to you from the video?

 

  1. A logical syllogism states two premises. If both are found to be true in relation to one another, the conclusion is valid. Do you agree with the 2 premises found in the Kalam Cosmological argument? Why or why not?
  • Premise 1—Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its beginning.
  • Premise 2—The universe began to exist.
  • Conclusion—Therefore, the universe has a cause of its beginning.

 

  1. How does this argument weaken the possibility of some of the claims of Pantheism and Naturalism?

Leader Note: Pantheism holds that the universe is eternal and materialists and naturalists hold that the universe exists without cause.

 

Leader Read: The world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said, “almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning…at the Big Bang.”

 

A lot of people argue that science and religion are viciously at odds with each other. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The very start of scientific inquiry came from scientists who thought the world was understandable BECAUSE God created it. The Big Bang is one example from many where science supports the claims of the Christian Worldview. Science and faith are not at odds with each other. God is the creator and exists as truth, therefore, all truth scientific or otherwise falls under the realm of God’s wisdom.

 

Worldview Grid—Implication

Leader Read: When we ask a question like, where did it all come from, we not only answer that question but actually gain insight into other major questions as well. That is because the answer to this question does not exist in a vacuum…the implications spill over into other areas of life as well. For instance…

 

J.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings Guy) said, “If you do not believe in a personal God, the question, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ is unaskable and unanswerable?”

 

  1. What does Tolkien mean by this? How can he make this claim? And…what does this have to do with Pantheism?

Leader Note: Tolkien is suggesting (rightly) that one of the implications of an impersonal God is that we cannot know the purpose of creation, life, etc. Pantheism believes that the universe is an impersonal God/force. Which means, for pantheism, any meaning in the universe is unknowable.

 

  1. In similar fashion, if everything came from an unguided and natural process…matter, atoms, molecules, and chemicals all smashing together…what does that mean for the question of purpose? Meaning? Hope? Life after death?

Leader NoteIf all that exists is stuff, then humans are nothing but an accident at best and a mistake at worst. Humans don’t have any created meaning, purpose, or hope. Even more, things like wonder and awe are not real…you are not having a real experience…what you think is awe, wonder, beauty, or even love is only chemicals swirling around in your head, giving you the illusion of wonder.

 

  1. What are some of the implications if the answer to the question of where did it come from is…an artist-like, powerful, and personal creator created us?

 

 

Worldview Grid—Action

Leader Read: What if the Christ-Hymn is an accurate picture of reality?? Surely that should affect the way we live.

 

  1. How does the Christian Worldview’s answer that everything was created by a personal, loving God, affect the way we live and experience the world?

 

  1. How can it or does it change the way we view the world around us?

 

  1. How does it affect the way we move and act in the world?

 

Leader Read: We can choose to get sucked into the cultural story that we hear everyday, a story that suggests that the world is simply a giant cosmic accident…that there is ultimately no purpose or meaning other than the meaning we create, and that the awe and wonder you feel from time to time is simply an illusion produced by chemicals rushing around in your brain…

 

OR…we can choose to live our lives under the headline of a better story, one that says that a loving, personal and artistic God CHOSE to create this world, which includes choosing to create you. That all of life contains a bit of wonder and awe. That this world is not a cosmic accident but a beautiful artist creation filled with discovered meaning, purpose, and value.

 

What we believe about the question of Origin…the question of “where did it all come from,” matters because it determines the lens that you will view life through, which will influence the way you think, act, and feel about your experience of the world.

  

PRACTICE

This week there are two options for our practice. Feel free to do both if you are an over achiever.

Option 1– Look for wonder. We all get so stuck in our daily routine that at times it is hard for us to see beyond the mundane. This week, be on the lookout for wonder. Take a photo of something that sparks a sense of wonder or awe. This could be something big or small—maybe it is even seeing something mundane in a new way. Be prepared to share next week.

 

Option 2– Ask a question. This week, ask someone (or a few people) this week’s question, “Where do you think it all came from?” or next week’s question, “Who are we?” “How are we different than animals?”

 

 

PRAYER

 

______________________________________________

 

Option Activity—Worldview in Film/TV (If Extra Time)

Break into groups of 4. Thinking of what we learned about the Pantheistic Worldview and Naturalism/Materialism, Can you name any TV/Movies that illustrate/promote this worldview?

 

Leader Note– Materialism/Naturalism= There are probably endless options of this but a couple easy answers are “Big Bang Theory,” “Cosmos” and “Young Sheldon,”

 Pantheism= There are probably a ton of movies that do…some include Star War’s concept of the Force, The Lion King’s concept of the “The Circle of Life,” Pocahontas, Brother Bear, etc.

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If your group enjoyed the Cosmological Argument Video, point them to a resource called “Reasonable Faith.” If you search “Animated Videos Reasonable Faith” in YouTube, you will find a series of videos related to evidence of God’s existence similar to the Cosmological Argument. For those that want to go even deeper, Reasonable Faith also has a website with countless articles surrounding a variety of apologetic topics as well as debates, podcasts, and interviews.

Who Are We?

Week 3: Discussion

 

WEEK 2 RECAP

Welcome to week 3 of One Life’s “Centered Series”. Throughout this series we are exploring what it means to have a Christ-Centered Worldview. Our working definition of a worldview is, “what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.” Last week we looked at the question, “where did it all come from?” Today we will explore the question of humanity asking, “Who are we?”

 

Each week we are using the same grid to filter our discussion.

  1. Claims—What are the claims each worldview makes in answering the question?
  2. Reasons—What are the reasons they make such a claim?
  3. Implications—What are the implications in other areas of life if the claim is true? Think “IF”…, “THEN”
  4. Actions—What actions should it inspire? How should we live in response?

  

Leader Note: For the sake of the flow of the discussion, “reasons” are kind of scattered in among the claims this week. If the “Claims” section is taking too long, consider skipping one of the points (Human Equal Minds). It is worth skipping that to make sure and get to PRACTICES.

One final note on using this guide. As a leader you read what is in italics, and the underlined leader note are just notes, possible answers, etc. for you. Obviously, you do not HAVE to read the italics, they are simply there as a resource for you.

 

ICEBREAKER 

  1. What is your dream vacation?

 

PRACTICE RECAP

We had two options for our Practice over the last week. Option 1 was taking a photo of something that sparks a sense of wonder or awe. Option 2 was asking someone one of the major worldview questions and see how they respond.

Did anyone complete any of the practices? If so, are you willing to share your experience?

  

WATCH SHORT FILM

  1. What struck you from the film? Did you find any piece particularly compelling or moving? Did it raise any questions in your mind? Did you find yourself disagreeing with any part of it?

 

 

THE BIG QUESTION…

Today we are exploring the question of humanity…specifically “Who are we?”

 

  1. What do you think are the most common answers to that question in our culture today? How would most people answer that question?

 

 

CLAIMS

HUMANS AS SPECKS

Leader Note: If your group is over 8 people, you could have them break down into two groups to go through this section. Simply have them read the section and answer the questions together as a smaller group. Have them come back together and share their insights before moving on to the “Humans as Highly Evolved Animals” section)

 

In the short film we heard a number of different answers to the question of who are we—Things like we are specks…we are highly evolved animals…we are nothing more than a mind that is a basically a computer…among those was the Christ-centered worldview’s claims as well.

 

Let’s begin exploring these claims by comparing Bill Nye and King David’s answer. They tell two very different stories.

 

One story, Bill Nye’s story, falls in line with the worldview of materialism—which says that all there is in the world is stuff…matter. Things like atoms, chemicals, minerals, etc. but nothing beyond that…no God, no soul, no spirit.

 

Materialism’s answer to “who am I?” would be…nothing more than a combination of stuff. There is nothing spiritual about you…no soul, really not even a “self”…there is no “you.” Just chemicals reacting in your brain.

 

Then, there’s David’s story. In the book of Psalms, King David tells a different narrative of the value of people. Let’s look closer at the stories.

 

BILL NYE QUOTE

“I’m just another speck of sand. And Earth, really, in the cosmic scheme of things, is another speck, and our sun…and unremarkable star, nothing special…another speck. And the galaxy is a speck. I’m a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks amongst still other specks in the middle of specklessness! I am insignificant! I suck!

 

Ok…keep that in mind as we read David’s words in Psalm 8:3-6…this is the VOICE translation.

 

PSALM 8:3-6 

3 When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation—

 

on the moon, stars, and all You have made,

 

4 I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals—

 

sons and daughters of men—

 

specks of dust floating about the cosmos.

 

5 But You placed the son of man just beneath God

 

and honored him like royalty, crowning him with glory and honor.

 

6 You ordained him to govern the works of Your hands,

 

To nurture the offspring of Your divine imagination;

 

You placed everything on earth beneath his feet:

 

  1. What do you notice about the similarities and differences in how these two men view themselves/people?

 

It is almost like Bill Nye and King David are saying the same thing, “we are specks.” However, they seem to mean two completely different things by it when it comes to the value of people.

 

  1. What is the difference between what Bill Nye and King David see as THE IMPLICATIONS of living in a giant universe?

 

They may have answered this is the last question, but Bill Nye sees the implications of a giant universe as implying that humans as insignificant specks. He might argue IF the universe is giant, THEN we must be insignificant specks.

 

 King David sees it completely different. The size and grandeur of the universe causes David to worship because he is blown away by the fact that the God that created all of that…loves and relates to people. He sees us as infinitely valuable. He might argue IF our creator has the power to create all of this and cares about us at the same time, THENwe must hold infinite value.

 

 

Humans as Highly Evolved Animals

  1. If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be? Why?

 

While it might be cool to be able to fly, or see in the dark for a day, the Christ-Centered Worldview denies the claim that humans are simply highly evolved animals.

 

GROUP ACTIVITY—How Are We Different

Break down into smaller groups. Give each group 60 seconds (or maybe 2 minutes) to come up with a list of ways that humans are unique from animals. Come back as a large group and see which group has the highest number of unique reasons why people are different than animals. (Unique, meaning answers that other groups did not have)

 

Leader Note: Some possible answers are use complex tools, control fire, invent better transportation methods, mass produce food and medicine, etc. etc.

 

HUMANS = MINDS

Another claim that materialists and naturalists make is that we are nothing more than minds…the mind is really “the stuff” we are. Many argue that there is no difference between mind and action, mind and self, mind and thought. We are essentially computers, programmed with no free-will.

 

  1. To consider how much you might align or disagree with this position, answer the following question…If some brilliant scientist created a procedure that could upload your entire mind into a robot that looked and sounded exactly like you…would it be you? Why or why not?

 

This question helps us think through the question of soul. If you would argue that the robot IS you, then you may be viewing people from the worldview of materialism…that all we are is mind and matter. However, if you would argue that the robot IS NOT you, it is likely because you believe (even if you don’t realize it) in some kind of concept of soul or some spiritual self, outside of our mind/brain.

 

 

REASONS-THE CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW

The Christ-Centered Worldview denies that we are insignificant specks, merely highly evolved animals, and that we nothing more than our minds. Instead, the Christ-Centered Worldview claims that every human has inherent worth and value because they are created in the image of God.

 

But…why would Christians claim humans are made in the “Image of God?”

 

Read Genesis 1:26-27

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

 

  1. What do you think it means that we are made in God’s image?

 

Dr. Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College gives us one way (among many) to put language around what it means to be made in the image of God.

 

He says, “In the ancient near east world (time/place when Genesis was written) an “image” was believed to carry the essence of that which it represented. An idol image of deity…would be used in the worship of that deity because it contained the deity’s essence. This would not suggest that the image could do what the deity could do, nor that it looked the same as the deity. Rather, the deity’s work was thought to be accomplished through the idol.”

 

  1. If Dr. Walton is correct, what does it mean that humans are made in the image of God?

 

Another interesting thing we see in Genesis is in verse 29. God says to his image (to us)… “I give you.” This phrase is used with nothing else in all of Creation. The fact that we exist as beings that can be addressed as “you”, and not impersonally as “it” or “them”, indicated our standing as people in relationship with God.

 

BUT MAYBE YOU’RE THINKING that the sole fact that the Bible says we are made in the image of God doesn’t seem like a strong enough reason to claim that people have inherent worth and value. If that is the case, then maybe the question of Jesus will help.

 

  1. If it is true that Jesus is God in flesh…how does the fact that God—became one of us, gave us an example of what it means to be our truest selves as human beings, and then sacrificed himself for our sake—speak to the value and worth of humans? Stated another way…if true, what does the very fact of Jesus’s existence imply about people?

 

 

IMPLICATIONS

As we have tried to point out each week, worldview claims do not exist in a vacuum. Each claim has implications that spread like a virus through all areas of our lives. Said another way…beliefs have consequences. Let’s consider the implications…

 

  1. What is the implication of human worth IF
  • We believe humans are just highly-evolved animal?
  • We believe humans are nothing more than matter…natural stuff like atoms, molecules, minerals, etc. etc.?
  • We believe that we are made in the image of a creator God who cared enough about us to enter humanity, sacrifice himself, and restore the relationship?

 

  1. Similarly, where would a person find their value/purpose/meaning IF…
  • We believe humans are just highly-evolved animal?
  • We believe humans are nothing more than matter…natural stuff like atoms, molecules, minerals, etc. etc.?
  • We believe that we are made in the image of a creator God who cared enough about us to enter humanity, sacrifice himself, and restore the relationship?

 

 

ACTION

  1. Which worldview lines up more honestly and consistently with treating people with love, equality, and grace? Why?

 

  1. The Humanist Manifesto says, “Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.” If that is true, and we are nothing more than just highly-evolved animals, what action does it inspire…with regard to social justice and how we treat people?

 

  1. If we were able to live consistently and fully in response to the Christ-Centered Worldview’s view of people…what actions might it inspire?

 

PRACTICE

  • One night this week, either by yourself or with your family/friends, go outside and sit or stand under the stars. Read Psalm 8 out loud taking in the vastness of space. (If family/friends are with you, take turns reciting it one by one). Imagine all the nights King David, as a young shepherd, stood under the stars looking up at the grandeur of God. Spend a few moments looking up, reflecting on the dual fact that we are tiny yet hold infinite worth.

 

What's Wrong?

Week 4: Discussion

Week 3 Recap

We are in week 4 of our CENTERED SERIES, which is all about establishing a Christ-Centered Worldview. Remember…our working definition of a worldview is, “what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.” Last week we discussed the question, who am I, which the Christ-Centered Worldview answers by claiming we are all made in the image of God and have inherent worth. But that’s not the whole story of humanity. Today we are going to examine the question, “What’s wrong?” Although we will deviate from our normal structure of systematically moving through the grid this week, all four pieces of are there…once again, they are.

 

  1. Claims—What are the claims each worldview makes in answering the question
  2. Reasons—What are the reasons they make such a claim
  3. Implications—What are the implications in other areas of life if the claim is true…think “IF”……, Then…..
  4. Actions—What actions should it inspire? How should we live in response?

 

Easy Intro Question

  1. When is the first time you consciously remember lying to your parents?

 

Leader Note: It would be good if you came prepared with your own story for this. For instance, I remember at about 7 years old, trying to jump off of our balcony and land on the couch. I was wildly unsuccessful and ended up in crutches. I told my mom and dad that I fell in a hole outside. I didn’t tell them the truth until after college but always felt bad about it. Feels good to get that off my chest!

 

Practice Recap

Accountability Time—Last week we challenged everyone to get out under the stars and read aloud Psalm 8. Is anyone willing to share from his or her experience? It doesn’t have to be overly spiritual or enlightening…you can even say, “I was just freezing and couldn’t wait to get inside.”

  

Watch Short Film

  1. What struck you from the film? Did you find any piece particularly compelling or moving? Did it raise any questions in your mind?

 

 

CLAIMS—WHAT’S WRONG?

  1. What are a few different ways that people might answer the question, what’s wrong with the world? What do you think our current culture’s general answer would be?

 

  1. What would you say if someone asked you to summarize the Christ-Centered Worldview’s answer to that question?

 

Leader: While a number of different terms, illustrations and metaphors have been used throughout the history of Christian thought, the answer as stated in the film is,

 

“God created the world good, he entrusted it to mankind as stewards. Man chooses to reject God’s way of doing things and poison is injected into the entire system.”

 

  1. Can you think of any of the Worldviews that we’ve discussed over the last few weeks that would be most likely to deny the fact that there is a problem? Why?

 

Leader Note: There may be multiple answers here but the naturalist or materialist (especially strict naturalists/materialists) would be likely to claim that since the world is an unguided process of evolution, and there is no ultimate purpose, there really isn’t a problem. In fact, many would claim that humans have no free will anyway, so the world was predetermined to become what it is and what it will be.

 

REASONS

Leader– The Christ-Centered Worldview claims that the world is not as it should be…that, to use the words form the film, poison has been injected into the whole system. Let’s explore a few passages from scripture that illustrate the reason why the Christ-Centered Worldview makes such a claim.  

 

Leader Note: Have them break into smaller groups of 3-5, read through the passages, and discuss how each verse supports the Christ-Centered Worldview’s claim of what’s wrong with the world.

 

Romans 7:18-25

18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[b] a slave to the law of sin.

 

Romans 3:23

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

Romans 8:19-22

19 For all creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time

 

 

CLAIMS—MORAL ARGUMENT

Leader: It is somewhat difficult to have a comparative worldview discussion to the larger question of what’s wrong with the world. That’s a pretty big question that doesn’t lend itself to simple answers. Instead, we will shrink it down to the more general idea of right and wrong. While many other worldviews answers would be similar to the Christ-Centered worldview’s general idea that something is off, the conversation gets varied and interesting when we get into the question of right and wrong.

 

  1. To begin let’s discuss the following question. Do you think that there is an ACTUAL right and wrong or do you think that throughout history people have just made up the rules/categories of right and wrong?

 

Leader: Many people in our culture today would claim…and this sneaks into the Christ-Centered Worldview as well…that right and wrong are different for each person. Or, right and wrong are at least different for each culture. These two views are likely the dominant position in our culture today, which makes them worth exploring. (You can break down into smaller groups for this discussion if it would be beneficial)

 

The first position is…

Individual Moral Relativism—Individual moral relativism argues that belief that right and wrong change from person to person.

  • According to IMR, morality (right and wrong) is up for each person to decide.
  • There are no universal moral truths…that is…there is no right or wrong that is true for everyone at all times.

 

  1. Can anyone think of an example of a time or situation that they have heard this view expressed?

 

Leader: A simple illustration of this idea might be littering. I believe that littering is wrong, my friend believes that littering is ok. We are both right, or at least, neither of us is wrong.

 

 

Cultural Moral Relativism—The belief that right and wrong change from culture to culture.

  • There are no moral standards true for everyone.
  • Culture determines what is right for everyone who lives in the culture.

 

  1. Can anyone think of an example of cultural moral relativism?

 

Leader: Again, a overly simple illustration of this idea is that some cultures think women should have to cover their head, some cultures do not. Neither culture is right or wrong, it is theirs to decide. This is obviously a lighter example than what could be made.

 

Leader Transition: Here is what is difficult about this issue. We are all compassionate and loving people who look at the definitions of individual and cultural moral relativism and think, “that sounds right. I don’t want to tell other people what is right and wrong for their life.” That comes from a good place…but let’s look at whether or not those views actually match up with reality and our lived experience by doing a thought experiment around the implications… 

 

 

IMPLICATIONS

Example 1: Modern-Day Slavery

Leader: On the video, you heard that modern-day slavery is a $150 BILLION dollar a year industry—40.3 million individuals are currently caught in the salve trade and 1 out of 4 of those is a child.

 

  1. What do you think of when you hear that?

 

  1. Do you think it is ok for some countries/cultures to engage in slavery if it’s agreed upon by a majority?

 

  1. Is the “wrongness” of slavery a personal opinion? Asked another way…if you think that selling slave trade is wrong, but your best friend thinks it’s no big deal…are you both right?

 

  1. What would the individual moral relativist have to answer? How would the cultural moral relativist have to answer? How would they defend it?

 

Example 2: WWII History

Leader: Here’s another example from history which you may all know well.

  • In 1933, a man named Hitler was appointed head of the German State
  • Hitler (along with his party) believed that there were hierarchies of different races…some were superior and some were inferior.
  • Not only that…he also worked to eliminate all disabled people, homosexuals, and other minorities that didn’t fit into his idea of the Aryan Race.
  • From 1941-1945, Hitler and the Nazi party systematically killed 6 million Jews; an estimated 1 million of them were children.

 

Now here’s the question…

  1. Is this (racism, murder, torture, etc) wrong for all people in all cultures, at all times? If so, why? What has to be true?

 

  1. That leads to the next big question…if we all sense that the answer is that Hitler’s actions were wrong for all people, in all cultures, at all times…who declares or decides such a thing is wrong? Who makes the call on right and wrong?

 

Leader: Remember…Hitler had the majority with him. He was not acting alone so it the answer can’t be majority.

 

  1. If an individual or cultural moral relativist (which is what many in our culture…believers included…seem to be) is actually living out there beliefs consistently…what would they have to say about modern-day slavery or the holocaust?

 

  1. If they came back and said, “well everyone just instinctively knows that’s wrong” (which obviously isn’t true based on the slave trades 150 billion/year) how do we know? Who decided that for us?

 

Leader: This is where the Christ-Centered Worldview is vastly different than individual and cultural moral relativism. TheChrist-Centered Worldview claims that there are at least some things that are right and wrong for everyone at all times.

 

For Christians, rather than individual preference or cultural majority, right and wrong are determined by God.

  • In an over-simplified sense, right is when reality (and our actions) align with the characteristics of God (love, truth, goodness, etc).
  • Wrong is when reality (and our actions) don’t align with the characteristics of God.
  • Our morals are determined by who God is and we find the clearest picture of that in scripture…most completely in the life of Jesus.

 

 

ACTION–SCRIPTURE ENGAGEMENT

Leader: Not only does scripture help us understand what is wrong, it also shows us what is right…what to pursue instead.  It lays out what it looks like to live out God’s vision for life.

 

GROUP ACTIVITY—In groups of 3-5, read Romans 12:9-21 and form a list of what it looks like to live to the full in God’s vision of life.

 

 

PRACTICE

  • This week’s practice is called “Sitting In Your Sin Before God.”
    • Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
    • We know that there is a problem in the world, and a problem within our own hearts. When responding to the question, what is the problem in the world, theologian G.K. Chesterton simply said, I am. Often, we try to cover over our sin, explain away our sin, or qualify it.
    • The Practice of “Sitting In Your Sin Before God” stands in opposition of that.
  • What you do
    • Find a quiet time and space
    • Hold your sin up before God in your mind’s eye…all of your failures to love, all of the mistakes you have made, all of the things that have come out of your mouth to hurt others…hold it before God without qualification, without false promises to change, without excuse or blame-shifting…simply exposed.
    • Hold all of that before God, and then simply take in his love. For while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
    •  Set all of you are before God and sit in the love of God as you are…not as you should be.
    • Let that love transform your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Is Jesus?

Week 5: Discussion

Week 5 Intro

We are in week 5 of our CENTERED SERIES, which is all about establishing a Christ-Centered Worldview. Remember…our working definition of a worldview is, “what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.” This week we will be discussing, Who is Jesus?

 

Remember our Worldview Assessment Grid

  1. Claims—What are the claims each worldview makes in answering the question
  2. Reasons—What are the reasons they make such a claim
  3. Implications—What are the implications in other areas of life if the claim is true…think “IF”……, “THEN”…..
  4. Actions—What actions should it inspire? How should we live in response?

 

WATCH SHORT FILM

 

INTRO QUESTIONS

  1. What are some ways that you hear Jesus described in today’s culture? How do the majority of people talk about him?

 

  1. When you think of Jesus’s influence, what are some things that he DIDN’T have going for him? As a group (or smaller groups) make a list.

 

Leader Note: Possible answers include he was poor, he was possibly homeless, he never authored a single book, his ministry only lasted 3 years, he didn’t have an Instagram account, he never traveled outside of a 100 mile radius, he never led an army.

 

 

  1. Given all of that, how do you think someone who didn’t follow Jesus would rationally explain Jesus’s influence? How did someone with all that going against him become the most influential man in history?

 

  1. What are some potential ways a follower of Jesus would answer that same question?

 

 

CLAIMS

Leader: There’s no doubt that Jesus was a great man. However, the Christ-Centered Worldview believes that He was more than a man. The Christ-Centered Worldview claims that Jesus was FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN. We want to spend some time, examining scripture to see why Christians believe that.

 

 

REASONS

Leader: One of the arguments used historically to try and refute the idea that Jesus is God is the claim that Jesus was just a man, but over time his legend grew and grew until eventually he began to be viewed as God.

 

If true, that would be problematic. Two ways to explore this claim is to look at what the earliest Christians claimed about Jesus and to look at who Jesus claimed about himself.

 

First, what did the earliest Christians Claim about Jesus?

 

GROUP SCRIPTURE ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITY: EARLY CREEDS

Leader: Over the last 30 years or so there have been some groundbreaking insights that have added major weight to the historical reliability of both the Bible and the claim that the earliest Christians viewed Jesus as God. One of those insights is the identification of early creeds.

 

Creeds are statements of belief that were written and recited for a number of different reasons…to clarify beliefs, to promote unity, and to be used in worship. What was discovered was that throughout the letters of the New Testament, there are a number of early creeds used by the church to talk about Jesus. A few of these are Philippians 2 and Colossians 1 (both written by AD 60—30 years after Jesus’s death).

 

What is important to remember is that even though these texts were written 30 years after Jesus’s death (which is still really early), the realization that these are early church creeds suggests they had been read and used in worship for years and years before Paul ever wrote them down. Paul writes them as if they are already common language among the churches.          Even more, the earliest known creed in the book of 1 Corinthians is usually dated in the AD 30’s…within just a few years of Jesus’s death.  

 

Directions: Break down into smaller groups and read these early creeds. Either have one group read Philippians 2: 5-11 and the other group read Colossians 1:15-20…OR…Have each group read both.

 

As you read the text, make a list of the claims the early Christians are making about Jesus.

 

  1. What from this text would lead us to believe that Jesus is fully God?
  2. What from this text points to Jesus’s humanity?

 

 

Who Did Jesus Say He Was?

Leader: We have seen pretty good evidence to suggest that the earliest Christians viewed Jesus as fully God and fully Man….but…what about those who claim that Jesus never actually said he was God? How do we respond to that?

 

WATCH REASONABLE FAITH VIDEO—WHO DID JESUS THINK HE WAS (6 Min)

 

  1. What evidence or arguments from this video gives good reason to claim that Jesus thought he was God? Can you think of anymore besides what was on the video?

 

 

IMPLICATIONS

Leader: What are the implications if Jesus actually claimed he was God? Even more, what are the implications if Jesus WAS REALLY GOD?

 

One implication if Jesus really claimed to be God but wasn’t…then he can’t be a good moral teacher or someone worth following.

 

The Greatest Question Asked by the Greatest Man

Leader: One time when Jesus was walking with his disciples, he stopped and asked what might be the most important question any of us will ever be asked…

 

Have someone read Matthew 16:13-16

 

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

 

 

Leader: Right here in Matthew, we see the greatest question being asked by the greatest man in history. That makes it pretty important. And it’s the same question that each of us have to consider if we are going to take our search for truth seriously. Of course, we could simply ignore the question and just keep living our lives with blinders on, but C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia guy) argued that if Jesus really made outrageous claim about being God…that is not really a valid option. He said.

 

“I’m trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is one thing we must not say.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”   – C.S. Lewis

 

  1. What do you think C.S. Lewis means by this quote?

 

  1. Do you agree/disagree, why?

 

 

ACTIONS

  1. BREAK INTO SMALLER GROUPS and try to come up with a list of 5-10 ways that Jesus still impacts society today. Another way to think of it is, what Jesus’s followers contributed to society…this might include institutions, innovations, philosophy, art.

 

  1. If you actually believe the claim that Jesus is God…what personal actions should it inspire? How should it affect how you view the world?

 

 

 

THIS WEEK’S PRACTICE

  • Personal Reflection on Scripture
    • Find a quiet space and read back through Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians 1:15-20
    • Consider the claims that the texts are making about Jesus
    • Gauge your heart as to what you believe about those claims and what you struggle to believe.
    • Offer it up to God in prayer.

What's The Cure?

Week 6: Discussion

WEEK 6 INTRO

We are in week 6 of our Centered Series, which means that we only have 2 weeks left! Last week we discussed the question, “What is the Problem?” In last week’s film, G.K. Chesterton summed up the Christ-Centered Worldview’s answer well, simply saying, “I am.” This week we will ask the question, “what is the cure?”

 

 

INTRO QUESTION

  1. It seems like everyone has a crazy aunt or a backwoods grandma that has some bizarre cure for every ailment. Is that true of your family? Did your family pass on some secret remedy like putting tobacco on bee stings or sleeping in wet socks to cure a fever? Is so, time to share the crazy.

  

WATCH THE SHORT FILM

 

FILM RESPONSE QUESTIONS

  1. What stood out to you from the film? Did you find any piece particularly compelling or moving? Did it raise any questions in your mind?

 

 

CLAIMS

We are going to use a scenario to help us think through the claims different worldviews make when answering the question, “what is the cure?”  

Here is the scenario…you have been invited to a very fancy art show at the local art museum. I’m talking so fancy that you have to rent a tux (maybe even a top hat) or an evening gown. You put on said formal attire and you head to the art gallery. As you are making the rounds, taking in the beautiful works of art, you drop your program…no big deal, you just bend over and pick it up…BUT…as you bend over you accidentally bump a column holding a $400,000 ceramic bowl. In that moment, everything starts to move in super-slow motion. You jerk back up, hoping to catch the bowl before it falls…only to feel it slide through the tips of your fingers as you reach for it. The bowl falls, shattering into a thousand pieces. The whole crowd is staring at you. You wish you could turn invisible or run but you know that the room is filled with security cameras that taped the whole thing. What do you do?????

 

  1. What are some possible ways, if any, you could fix the problem?

 

If we take this same scenario and imagine it as an illustrations for the brokenness of humanity, we can gain insight into how a number of different worldviews answer the question, “what’s the cure.”

  1. Thinking back to the film…how would most eastern worldviews address the problem of the bowl? As the breaker of the bowl, what would your fate be? Or how would you fix it?

 

Leader Note: If your group needs a hint, tell them to think about the concept of “karma.” The answer may be something to the effect of…that’s going to cost you, better luck in your next life.

 

  1. What about Islam? The video told us that in Islam, Allah is the ultimate judge, but how does he judge? You broke the ceramic bowl…what do you do to make up for it, and how do you know if Allah forgives you?

 

Leader Note: One possible answer is…if we are answering this problem from the Islamic Worldview, we could try and glue the bowl back together again (which we could never do), we could try to pay the artist back (which most of us could never do), or we could do a whole bunch of good deed for the artist…BUT…we will go to our death never knowing if we are forgiven or not…crossing our fingers that we did enough.

 

  1. What about naturalism? The worldview that says that the world is only atoms and molecules, nothing supernatural or “other” in the world. How would you address the problem as a naturalist?

 

Leader Note: The problem seems pretty easy for the naturalist (even though it doesn’t match reality). There is no artist and there is no real objective right or wrong. You broke something…say whoops and walk away.

 

  1. What about the Christ-Centered Worldview? If we think of Jesus as the artist…how do we fix the problem of the broken ceramic bowl?

 

Leader Note: From the perspective of the Christ-Centered Worldview, no matter how hard we work to glue all the pieces back, or how long we save to try and pay the artist back…WE CAN NEVER FIX IT OURSELVES. Thankfully, we know the artist and if we fall on the mercy of the artist, the artist forgives us and fixes the bowl himself…naturally, we become the artists biggest fans.

 

 

THE CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW—REASONS AND IMPLICATIONS

The Christ-Centered worldview believes that the answer to the question, “what is the cure” is Jesus’s death on the cross as an act of grace. Historically, theologians have explained this using a number of different analogies that are housed in strange theological language…concepts like recapitulation, sacrifice, expiation, moral communication, satisfaction, ransom etc. Each of these words (that aren’t necessary to know) are summary descriptions of what has been found in scripture and can all be helpful in gaining a fuller understanding of Christ’s work on the cross.

Theologian Dr. Steven Cone says, 

“There is a depth of riches in Christ. Because Christ’s saving work is the work of a divine person in history, because it deals with the absurdity of sin, and because its purpose is to bring us into a life whose fullness we cannot yet imagine, no human conception can completely sum up the way that Christ saves us. There are multiple analogies, each reflecting different insights, and responding to different questions…none of which serve as the master narrative that the others must fit into.  Through all of them we seek to understand our reconciliation to God.”

 

GROUP ACTIVITY

Break down into smaller groups. Each group will examine a number of different scriptures, looking for what language it uses to describe Christ’s work on the cross…and/or…the implications of his work (what it means for us). Each group will record their findings and share when finished.

 

Other helpful questions to approach these verse might be asking…

  • What does it tell us about Christ and what does it say about us?
  • How and in what ways does Christ save?
  • How do we move on from the stain of sin (guilt, shame, etc)?

 

GROUP 1

  • Colossians 1:19-22
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
  • Matthew 20:26-28
  • 1 John 2:1-2
  • Galatians 1:3-5

 

GROUP 2

  • John 3:14-17 à Read along with Numbers 21:4-8 (what is the connection between the two passages)
  • Romans 5:1-5 (Peace with God)
  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (Ransom)
  • 1 John 4:9-10 (Atoning Sacrifice)
  • Ephesians 5:1-2

 

 

IMPLICATIONS

  1. What are some of the implications of Christ’s saving work that were found in the verses we just examined?

 

  1. Can you think of anymore implications? IF this is true, THEN

 

 

ACTIONS

If the Christ-Centered worldview is correct, and incarnation and death on the cross are the cure for the brokenness of humanity…

 

  1. What actions should it inspire? How should this reality change the way we think and act in the world?

 

  1. Why do you think that often does it doesn’t inspire action for believers?

 

 

PRACTICE

This week, spend some time prayerfully reading through John’s accounts of Jesus’s death on the cross (John chapters 18 and 19). Put yourself in the room, the crowd, place yourself at the scene of the cross as you read.

  • Prayerful reading means directing you’re the words you are reading and your inner monologue as you read, back towards God. This may include doubts, joy, sadness, etc…bring it all before God.

 

Is There Hope?

Week 7: Discussion

WEEK 7 INTRO

Welcome to the final week of our Centered Series—where for the last 7 weeks, we have explored what it means to have a Christ-Centered Worldview. Remember, our working definition of “worldview” is…what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.

 

We have used the same worldview assessment tool every week…does anyone remember what they are?…Every worldview consists of 1. CLAIMS—2. REASONS—3. IMPLICATIONS—4. ACTIONS.

 

In our final week, we will be exploring the question, Is there hope?

 

WATCH THE SHORT FILM

 

FILM RESPONSE QUESTIONS…

  1. What stood out to you from the film? Did you find any piece particularly compelling or moving? Did it raise any new questions in your mind?

 

 

 

CLAIMS

Every worldview has to answer the question, what happens when we die? Is there hope beyond death? In this section, we will examine the claims made by a number of different worldviews in response to this question.

 

Naturalism

Naturalism claims that nature (the physical—i.e. atoms, molecules, etc) is all that there is. The claims of naturalism can be discovered in the following quote from Nobel Prize winning philosopher and mathematician, Bertrand Russell. He says,

 

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors or the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

 

Leader Note– You can have them look up the huddle on the app if they need to see the quote.

 

  1. What strikes you (or stands out to you) from this quote?

 

  1. How would Bertrand Russell (and fellow naturalists) answer the question, is there hope? What makes you say that?

 

 

Pantheism or New Age Spirituality

Pantheism or New Age Spirituality claims that ALL of reality (rocks, trees, water, humans, birds, etc) is ultimately divine. Upon death, the spiritual part of us returns to become part of the one impersonal divine energy.

 

  1. While the pantheistic worldview seems to hold out some inkling of hope beyond death, how is it different from the Christ-Centered Worldview view of hope beyond death?

 

Leader Note—You may have a variety of different answers to this question. While there is likely a number of differences that could be pointed out, the biggest difference is that in the Pantheistic worldview, we no longer have any since of self…all of that is lost in death. In addition, the Christ-Centered Worldview claims that we return to a personal and loving God, whereas Pantheism claims we return to an impersonal “energy.”

 

 

Christ-Centered Worldview

The Christ-Centered Worldview claims that there is real hope in both life and in death…that hope is tied to a historical event, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Historians now believe that 1 Corinthians 15 is an early Christian creed, dated to just 2-3 years after the death of Jesus.

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

 

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”

 

 

  1. How does the creed from 1 Corinthians 15 provide us with both claims and reasons?

 

  1. Why do you think Paul makes the point that some of the witnesses were still living at the time of his writing? How does that strengthen his claim?

 

 

 

REASONS

We see from the earliest creed of the early church that the believers tied their hope to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything centered around that event. This naturally leads us to wonder, is there any evidence of the resurrection of Jesus?

 

To answer this question, we are going to look at a number of different videos. Two are from Dr. William Lane Craig’s ministry, Reasonable Faith, and one was made by One Life.

 

LEADER NOTE: If you need to skip one for the sake of time, skip the last one, “Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead Part Two”

 

WATCH “DID JESUS REALLY RISE FROM THE DEAD PART ONE” VIDEO (6 MIN)

https://youtu.be/4qhQRMhUK1o

 

  1. What stood out to you from the video?
  2. For you, what fact seemed to be the strongest argument? Weakest?
  3. What questions did it bring up?
  4. Did any part of it help strengthen your faith?

 

 

One of the historical facts mentioned in the video was the disciples belief, even to the point of death.

 

Historian and New Testament Scholar, Dr. Gary Habermas, said,

 

“Virtually all scholars studying Jesus’s resurrection, whether conservative, moderate, or liberal, acknowledge that Jesus’s earliest followers were convinced not only that Jesus was raised from the dead but also that he had appeared alive to many of them on several occasions. Further, scholars also almost unanimously recognize that two former skeptics, James the brother of Jesus and Saul of Tarsus (Paul), became believers after they, too, were convinced that they had seen the risen Jesus.”

 

A few years ago, One Life created a video that addressed this very idea.

 

WATCH “EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION” VIDEO(5 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwQUPbL6ghQ

 

  1. What stood out to you from the video?
  2. Did any part of it help strengthen your faith?

 

 

We want to examine one more thing before moving away from reasons to believe. This is Part Two of “Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead” and it covers the major theories that have formed over the years to find a way to naturally explain the empty tomb. Check it out.

 

Watch “DID JESUS REALLY RISE FROM THE DEAD PART TWO” (6 MIN)

https://youtu.be/6SbJ4p6WiZE

 

  1. What stood out to you from the video?
  2. Had you heard of any of these theories prior to today?
  3. In your mind, what was the strongest argument? Weakest?
  4. What questions did it bring up?
  5. Did any part of it strengthen your faith?

 

 

IMPLICATIONS

Now that we have explored the reasons we can confidently believe in the resurrection of Jesus, let’s think about the implications. Remember…beliefs don’t live in isolation, they work through all parts of our lives and actions.

 

When we think implications, it helps to think… “IF” ______ is true, “THEN” it means _________.

 

  1. What are the implications IF Jesus did NOT really rise from the dead?

 

  1. What are the implications IF Jesus really DID rise from the dead? In smaller groups, try to come up with 5…”IF” Jesus really did rise from the dead, “THEN” _________. Think of it in terms of what it means for things like death, fear, identity, suffering, the Bible, etc.

 

ACTIONS

Belief is not confined to our thoughts. True belief is lived out in action.

 

  1. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, proving to be God…how should it affect the way we live? In smaller groups, think of 5 tangible ways this reality should affect our actions.

 

 

SERIES CLOSING QUESTION

  1. Looking back over the series, what was your favorite week?
  2. Was there anything that really stuck with you from this series?
  3. How has this series helped you trust and follow Jesus more?

 

 

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