(Seven Questions HMC study for the week of 30th July – 5th August 2018)
ICE BREAKER: What has been your most special and unique relationship? Why was this so?
FOCUS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE/S: READ John 15:1-8
Some Context: This forms part of Jesus “Farewell Discourse in chapters 14-17. Jesus is preparing the disciples for his departure. He knows he will soon be crucified and he wants them to be ready for what his death will mean. After all, they’ve been together for 3 years and now they will be cut off from him. As we know this was a crucial time for their faith. Jesus had said previously that they will do greater things than him – now that he will be gone it may have been tempting to give up because they didn’t believe they had the power to continue. Jesus offers them, and us, an image of connectivity and sustaining power in the midst of our own frailty.
1. Have you experienced a time you felt near to God but far away from God’s Presence? We can so often be attending church, or be involved in some kind of ministry/activity but we seem to be lacking or missing something, our faith seems weak. Share your experience with your group.
2. READ: Isaiah 5:7; Jer. 2:21 and Ps. 80:8. What do you think is the meaning of a grapevine as a symbol for the nation of Israel? What do you think Jesus means when he says, “I AM the True Vine?”
3. God is the vine-grower or vine-dresser. Grapevines need pruning to stay healthy. So then, what does it mean for us to be pruned? Share a time when you felt pruned.
4. Think about your life and the things that take up your energy. Are there less important things (even though they may be good things) that are robbing you of productive energy? If so, what are they?
5. What are the important relationships that you need to nurture? If they’ve been neglected of late what are you going to do to rectify this?
6. Can you relate to holding onto dead things that have no chance to produce? Perhaps things like, jealousy, resentment, disappointment, or shame? Reflect and share with your group.
7. Think of yourself as the branches and Jesus as the vine. The vine provides a life source to the vine. The branches bear the fruit. Sometimes we’re so busy looking to the fruit instead of the vine. If we are to change our perspective what do you think it means to “cling to the vine”? Have you ever placed more focus on being fruitful than being faithful?