Small Group Curriculum

Discover the Rhythm of Stillness and Rest

06.21.20 | Sermon Series: Whole-Hearted

 
 

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying Exodus 20:1–17 and Daniel 6:6–10. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.

LANDING POINT | Daily stillness and Sabbath help me to stop, surrender and trust in God.

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

Life in the Fast Lane

Rest. It’s something we desperately need in our fast-paced, hurried world. And yet, it’s something we rarely seem to have or enjoy. Part of the problem is we don’t know when to stop. For many of us, we’re overscheduled, overworked and exhausted. What little free time we have often goes toward more to-dos and demands.

Is this the way life is supposed to be for believers? God says, “No.”

Life is more than productivity and efficiency. Certainly, life involves work and activity, but it also involves rest and enjoyment of God and His creation. Real rest is possible. God offers us a way to find rest through two spiritual disciplines: daily stillness (or the Daily Office) and Sabbath.

Q: Do you feel pressure to always be busy or active in something? Why or why not?

 

deeper dive

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

P R A C T I C I N G   D A I LY    S T I L L N E S S

Scripture helps us see what daily stillness looks like. For example, Daniel incorporated times of prayer into his daily routine. The psalmist gives us God’s command to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Jesus and His disciples—despite their many responsibilities—set aside time for stillness and solitude with God.

Q: Have someone read Daniel 6:6–10. As the passage is read, consider what difference it made for Daniel to pray to God three times a day.

Q: What can get in the way of practicing daily stillness with God?

 

A    D A Y    O F     R E S T

God commanded Sabbath rest for His people, the Israelites. They were to work six days and rest on the seventh, just as God had when He created the world. For the Israelites (and us), stepping away from work affirms that (1) God is at the center of all life, (2) He doesn’t need us to run His universe and (3) we trust Him to care for our needs.

Q: Have someone read Exodus 20:8–11. Why was rest important enough to God to include in the Ten Commandments?

Q: What changes, if any, do you need to make in order to set aside a day each week for Sabbath rest?

 

reflection and next steps

Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.

B E I N G    W I T H    G O D

The goal of daily stillness is not more doing or asking something of God but stopping to be with God. Practicing daily stillness with God helps you become more familiar with God’s presence in your day-to-day life. Daily stillness reminds us that God loves us for who we are, not what we do for Him.

Four elements of daily stillness are:

  1. Stopping
  2. Centering
  3. Silence
  4. Scripture

Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to be more aware of God’s presence?

Q: Challenge: Each day next week, practice the four elements of daily stillness. Take note of your experience and share with the group next week.

G O D ’ S    G I F T

The Sabbath is God’s gift to us. It’s like a snow day where you can do what you want. See it as a “no obligation day.” On the Sabbath, God gives you permission to rest from work, rest in Him and truly enjoy life as a gift from the Father.

There are four principles of a biblical Sabbath:

  • Stop
  • Rest
  • Delight (in creation, people and play)
  • Contemplation

Q: What would an ideal Sabbath day look like for you?

Q: How can the group pray for you now and in the week ahead?

 

COMMENTARY

God’s Sabbath Design “Every aspect of Israel’s life is to reflect that the people belong to the Lord and are sustained by his hand. The weekly pattern of work and rest is to be a regular and essential part of this (see Ex. 31:12–18). […] The celebration of the Sabbath looks back to creation (see notes on Gen. 2:2 and 2:3), back to redemption from Egyptian slavery (Deut. 5:15), and forward to final rest through faith in Christ (Heb. 4:1–11).”1

More Than a Day Off “[The Sabbath] was not to be a day of slothful inactivity but of spiritual service through religious observances. For the violation of this command God imposed on Israel the death penalty (Ex. 31:15; Num. 15:32–36). In the present Church Age the day of worship has been changed from Saturday to Sunday because of Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).”2

Standing or Kneeling? “In Scripture, standing is the regular posture in prayer (1 Chr. 23:30; Neh. 9:2–5), while kneeling, a mark of humility, occurs in circumstances of particular solemnity (1 Kin. 8:54; Ezra 9:5; Ps. 95:6; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40).”3


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ENDNOTES:

  1. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 176.

    2. John D. Hannah, “Exodus,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 139.

    3. R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 1476.