A SPIRIT CAFÉ DISCUSSION GUIDE
1. Welcome and introduce newcomers to the café
2. Open with a prayer for God’s guidance and presence
3. Ask everyone if they heard Sunday’s message.
January 17, 2021
The Adventure Begins!
Blessing. Testing. Purpose. Conflict.
Luke 4:1-13 (The Message)
4 1-2 Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.
3 The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”
4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”
5-7 For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”
8 Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
9-11 For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”
12 “Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’”
13 That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.
Jesus is tested, and after completing the test in the desert he is ready to begin his adventure. The testing is meant to get us focused, to cleanse us of any distractions, to help us be clear in our purpose. And this is how Jesus exits the desert.
4-15 Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone’s acclaim and pleasure.
16-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
22 All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”
23-27 He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”
28-30 That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
The Nazareth crowd is impressed that the hometown boy is so articulate and intelligent and bold. But for Jesus, the good news is for all humankind, not just for our kind. Somehow, that seems disloyal to the Nazarenes. That seems like a betrayal of their unique and hard-won identity. In just a few minutes the crowd quickly flips from proud to concerned to disturbed to furious. They are transformed from a congregation to a lynch mob.
Christian or Disciple? Which are you? One can be a “Christian” and still seek the comforts, securities and materialism of this present age. But a disciple? A disciple will experience blessing, testing, purpose and conflict. Oh, and one other thing: a disciple will find life in abundance! A cultural Christian will find only the same boredom and meaningless existence that others experience.
But today can be different for you! Today, this day, you can begin a new adventure. It’s called discipleship. Being an apprentice to Jesus the Master. Whatcha’ gonna do?
Current running Spirit Cafés:
— From Sept. thru May, 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 6:30p. Meet at Greg Truesdell’s in Lebanon. For more info. on the Men’s Ministry Spirit Café, contact Brent Jividen.
— Believers meet on various times of the month 6:00p-8:00p. For more info. on this Spirit Café, contact Dannie Glidden.
— WayneLeb meets various times of the month in Lebanon, originally started in Waynesville. 6:30p-8:30p. For more info. on this Spirit Café, contact Russ Jacox.
— Christian Marriage Group is looking to start meeting again, contact Kelly & Brett Stouffer for more info.