Kingdom Come: Rest
This is a suggestion for how to lead an online Connect Group, based on the talk that Lars Due Christensen gave on 27th September. It lasts around 80 minutes, but feel free to extend sections, remove sections, add your own or just do your own thing entirely! Whatever works best for you and your group.
The discussion questions and reflections will work without having listened to the talk, but if you are going to use them you may want to watch the talk before you meet.
Welcome & Prayer (5 mins)
Welcome everyone to the group and remind people of the following:
- As a general rule it’s helpful to keep your mic muted unless you’re talking to reduce background noise.
- During the discussion if you want to speak, raise a hand and I’ll throw the conversation to you.
- We’ll be using the chat function to post links, quotes, Bible verses and prayer requests.
Start your time together by praying, thanking God for the opportunity to be together and asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together (you may want to ask someone else to pray).
Gratitude & Challenges (15-25 mins)
Ask everyone to introduce themselves and share one thing from the last week they are grateful for, and one thing they are finding particularly challenging.
Don’t forget to make it clear who is to share next, and to let people know they can pass if they want to.
Overview & Group discussion (30 mins)
This term we are thinking and praying about what Jesus’ kingdom come ‘in London as in heaven’ might look like. Each week we’ll be looking at a different aspect of the nature of the King and his kingdom, and this week Lars reminded us that working to see Jesus’ Kingdom come must start from a place of rest; something that Jesus offers to each one of us:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus in Matthew 11:28-29
The yoke that Jesus is speaking about here is a piece of farming equipment that joined two oxen together, enabling them to pull a plough. Lars reminded us that to be yoked to Jesus, is to be joined to one who is willing and able to do all the heavy lifting in our lives. When we take Jesus’ yoke upon us, we become like Lars’ grandson helping to sweep the leaves off the roof. We may participate in the work, but He is really the one doing it, and the main point is that we do it together.
Q. Lars quoted the Belgian Priest, Wilfried Stinissen, who said: “[Life] is about God doing everything and us allowing him to do just that.” How do you feel about this idea? Does this feel like a realistic goal to aim for? Or a way to opt-out of working hard?
Q. Does the idea of ‘working from rest’ rather than ‘resting from work’ make sense to you? Which one currently describes your life?
Lars described the yoke of Jesus – the thing that connects us to him and enables us to live and work from a place of deep rest – as being the Holy Spirit. Jesus indicates that living from rest is something that we learn – it’s a process that he leads us into – rather than just a momentary answer to prayer, and Lars encouraged us to ‘put on’ the yoke of the Holy Spirit by regularly doing three things:
- By inviting him, using the ancient prayer: “Come Holy Spirit”
- By praying in tongues.
- By praying the ‘Jesus Prayer’: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Or the shorter version: “Jesus,” (as you breathe in) “have mercy on me” (as you breathe out).
Q. What do you think about the rest of Jesus being something that we learn to live in, rather than something that is just given in a moment? Do you find this encouraging or discouraging?
Q. If you feel comfortable, share any experiences you have had of praying, “Come Holy Spirit,” either on your own or with others.
You may want to ask if anyone in the group speaks who speaks in tongues would be willing to share how they started, and how it benefits their prayer life.
Come Holy Spirit (10 mins)
Let people know that you are going to pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’ and then wait together in silence for a few minutes. Tell people you are going to wait until it gets a little uncomfortable… and then you’ll wait a little longer… to give the Holy Spirit time to do what he wants to do. Encourage people to only pray in tongues, or to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ and to be open to what the Holy Spirit may be bringing to mind, or the emotions they begin to feel.
Let people know that after the silence, there will be the opportunity for anyone to share anything they are feeling or thinking, and for people to pray for others in the group.
Note to Leader: Ask the Holy Spirit to give you something to pray over a specific person in your group and start with that!
Prayer (20 mins)
If you have time, move into a time of prayer for the city: for your family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. Pray that you would have opportunity to speak to them about the one who is able to give them true rest.
You may want to pray the Lord’s prayer together to end:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.