Wiser Together Study Guide: Learning to Live the Right Way

Wiser Together Study Guide: Learning to Live the Right Way

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Overview

Wiser Together Study Guide: Learning to Live the Right Way by Bill Hybels

In this five-session video-based Bible study (DVD/digital video sold separately), bestselling author and pastor Bill Hybels challenges you to make doing life together a priority, exploring from the book of Proverbs how experiencing community and growing in wisdom are inseparably linked and offering practical direction on how to experience this with others.

All of us want to get better at life. Gettting wiser alone, however, is not the way it works. God didn’t wire us to catch onto wise and godly living through lone-ranger attempts at learning; it’s something that rubs off on us when we spend time with others who have the wisdom of God living inside of them. As the proverb says, “Iron sharpens iron as one person sharpens another.”

This study is designed with both new and experienced group leaders in mind. For new leaders, it includes optional weekly DVD training sessions (DVD sold separately) to help them lead a fantastic, first-time small group experience. For experienced leaders, it includes a "Going Deeper" section for those ready to take this content to the next level.

Sessions include:

  1. Walking with the Wise
  2. The Counsel of Community
  3. Iron Sharpens Iron
  4. The Heart of Community
  5. Faith and Friendship

Designed for use with the Wiser Together Video Study 9780310820116 (sold separately).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310820109
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 05/27/2014
Edition description: Study Guid
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 870,778
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Leadership Axioms, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, and Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and two grandsons, Henry and Mac.

Read an Excerpt

Wiser Together Study Guide


By Bill Hybels, Shane Farmer, Todd Katter

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2012 Willow Creek Community Church
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-82010-9



CHAPTER 1

SESSION 1

WALKING WITH THE WISE

Gatherings that Grow


SESSION NOTES

Before You Gather

Whether your small group is brand new or an established gathering of old friends, you're starting something fresh with this study.

You're going to connect with each other in a deeper way as we focus on how God designed us to become wiser together.


Warm-up

Let's start by taking time to check in with one another.

QUESTION 1: Introduce yourself and describe the best experience of community you've ever had. Was it a small group, team, circle of friends, task force, or another community? Describe it in 60 seconds and share what made it unique.

QUESTION 2: Describe the worst group experience you've ever had. Was it a church small group, a committee, a group you had at work for an assignment, or a school group? What made it so bad?

Video: Walking with the Wise

Watch the video teaching together. Use your study guide to take notes and fill in the blanks.

"You are who you hang around" was not just your mother's mantra.

Jesus affirms the truth behind this saying in the gospel of Matthew: "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20, emphasis added). His prayer for his followers in the gospel of John states, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you" ( John 17:20 – 21, emphasis added). And in Acts 2:44 – 47, the early church models what it looks like to walk together: "All the believers were together.... They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people."

The Scriptures are crystal clear that Chris tian ity is intended to be a community in which no one _____________ ______________.


The Goal

To become a gathering where everyone grows.

Definition of a failing small group: A gathering where, over time, nobody grows into Christlikeness.

Jesus' definition of growth (from Luke 10:27): "Love God with all your _________, ________, ____________, and _______. Love your _________________ as yourself."


Defining growth in loving God with all your:

Heart: Gatherings that grow provide a safe place for people to check in. Soul: Gatherings that grow stop to _________ for each other. Mind: Gatherings that grow discuss and apply Scripture to their lives. Strength: Groups that grow leave with __________________ ____________ they plan to ______.


Growth in Loving Others

1. Loving others well looks like ___________________.

2. Loving well means focusing more on others than on your own stories of accomplishment and experience.

3. Loving well in a group means confidentiality.

4. Loving well means the right balance of __________ and ____________.

5. Loving well means keeping commitments and honoring others' time.


Discussion

READ TOGETHER: The word "discipleship" brings many things to mind. Some might picture one-to-one mentoring relationships. Others might picture a religious guru with a band of followers. However, discipleship actually means to grow as a follower of Christ's teachings. And helping others become his disciples is something all Christians are called to do.

In Matthew 28, Jesus gave his parting instructions, known as the "Great Commission," to his followers. He sent them on a mission with clear marching orders: Make disciples. Go and help others learn how to put my teaching into practice in their lives.

Discipleship can take place in a variety of forms:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]


Both of these are important to our mission to make disciples. Yet, we believe the best environment for the making of a disciple is within a group context.

QUESTION 3: Discuss how your participation in a small group could help others grow as disciples — to become wise instead of foolish. What are the benefits of the "many-to-many" community approach to discipleship?

QUESTION 4: The book of Proverbs has many admonitions against being shaped by the foolish ways of others. Describe a time when you did something foolish because of the influence of someone else.

QUESTION 5: In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his followers, "Go and make disciples of all nations." Have you ever thought of joining a small group as a way to live out the mission Jesus gave you to disciple others?

QUESTION 6: Jesus' words in Luke 10:27, often described as the "Greatest Commandment," tell his followers to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind." Which of these areas could use your focus right now?

• Does your heart need softening or healing?

• Does your soul need to experience more of God's Spirit?

• Do you need to utilize your strength to apply and live out what you already know?

• Does your mind need to learn and believe more of God's truth?


QUESTION 7: Are you in a season where you are seeking to invest relationally in others? Share with the group how you plan to grow in this area.


Deeper Study

Use the following questions if you have extra time, or if the group desires to dive in at greater length to this week's theme.

QUESTION 8: Read Hebrews 10:19 – 25 together. Notice there are three different commands that begin with the phrase, "let us." Each of these "let us" commands demonstrates how we are called to live because Jesus died and rose again for us. The third "let us" command specifically focuses on the importance of community. What aspects of community does it emphasize?

QUESTION 9: How does this passage of Scripture impact the priority that community should play in your life? In particular, how might you follow this "let us" command within the context of this group?


Closing

Review and sign the Wiser Together Group Agreement (see Appendix C).


PERSONAL JOURNAL

Set aside time each day to be intentional about your growth through the following exercises.


Day 1

READ: Proverbs 1

REFLECT: Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."

Why did Jesus emphasize coming together in this way?

RESPOND: What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?

RECORD: Write your prayer.


Day 2

READ: Proverbs 2

REFLECT: Hebrews 10:24 – 25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another."

Why do we underestimate the importance of spurring one another on toward love and good deeds?

Have you ever been encouraged in faith by a friend? Describe your encounter. Can you imagine that happening regularly? Can you imagine doing that for others regularly? How would these encouragements (both giving and receiving) impact your spiritual growth?

RESPOND: What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?

RECORD: Write your prayer.


Day 3

READ: Proverbs 3

REFLECT: John 17:20 – 21, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you."

What does a group of people who are united look and feel like?

If you could imagine Jesus closing his eyes and picturing his church at this time, what do you think he pictures?

RESPOND: What can you do to make Christ's prayer for us as his church a reality? What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?

RECORD: Write your prayer.


Day 4

READ: Proverbs 4

REFLECT: Acts 2:44 – 47, "All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

Which phrase or words stand out the most to you? Why?

Is the church simply a reflection of humanity's attempt to organize Christianity? Or is coming together essential to live out Christ's will? Explain your answer.

Which quality of the early church do you need to develop or strengthen in your life?

RESPOND: What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?

RECORD: Write your prayer.


Day 5

READ: Proverbs 5

REFLECT: Luke 10:27, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself."

Which word or words really stand out to you in this verse? Why?

Read this verse, emphasizing one word at a time. (Example: LOVE God with ..., love GOD with ..., etc.) Do any new insights come to mind?

RESPOND: What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?

RECORD: Write your prayer.


Day 6

READ: Proverbs 6

REFLECT: Matthew 28:18 – 20, "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"

This final commandment of Jesus, found at the end of Matthew's gospel, is often referred to as the "Great Commission." What parts of the Great Commission does Jesus instruct all his followers to join in?

How does this verse shape your view of becoming a disciple of Jesus?

RESPOND: What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?

RECORD: Write your prayer.

CHAPTER 2

SESSION 2

THE COUNSEL OF COMMUNITY

Giving and Getting Wise Counsel


SESSION NOTES

Before You Gather

During your last gathering, you learned about God's plan for how we can become "wiser together." If there are new people at your gathering this week, you can look forward to learning from the unique wisdom they bring to your group. If you know their names, greet them; if you don't, introduce yourself.


Warm-up

QUESTION 1: Do you have any wise mottos you try to live by? Maybe you have a phrase your parents said over and over, or perhaps you picked it up somewhere else, or even came up with it on your own. Share with the group one of your life mottos and why it has been an important reminder of wisdom for you.

QUESTION 2: How has the vision of how we become "wiser together" been evident in your life since we last met? Share an experience from this past week that brought this idea to mind. [Note: New people can take a pass on this question.]


Video: The Counsel of Community Watch the video teaching together. Use your study guide to take notes and fill in the blanks.

Wise counsel is one of the primary benefits to Christ followers of being fully engaged with a small group of believers. Today we are going to talk about what counsel should look like when we gather together.


The Right People

1. The right people for sharing wisdom are people who _____________ __________.

2. Christ's wisdom can be found everywhere in creation. However, we need to intentionally seek wisdom from those who ____________ and _________________ Christ.

"The plans of the righ teous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful" (Proverbs 12:5).

3. The right people for receiving wisdom are __________ people.


Proverbs 9:7 – 9 says, "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning."

The purpose of a small group is to grow; therefore, when you are forming a group of believers to invest yourself in, seek out people for your inner circle who want to grow.


The Right Advice

Proverbs 27:9 says, "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice."

1. The right advice brings ___________ to the heart.

2. The right advice is heartfelt advice.

3. The right advice comes from a ______________.


The DO NOTs of Counsel

1. Do not ____________ more counsel than you ____________ from others.

2. Never tell someone exactly what to do by giving commands, but instead offer advice that can be prayerfully considered.

3. Do not feel pressured to say something smart.


The DOs of Counsel

1. One of the most important things you can do when receiving counsel from others is to ______________________!

Proverbs 25:12 says, "Like ... an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear." Remember: there is a kernel of truth in every critic.

2. Show your love for others before showing truth to them.

3. _________________ in private; _________________ in public.

4. Seek many counselors.

5. Discern when someone needs you to _____________________ versus when they really need _____________________.

6. The best counsel comes in the form of questions.

7. Recommend a ______________.


Discussion

QUESTION 3: Have someone read Proverbs 9:7 – 9 aloud (see the video notes). Without giving names, share a time when you gave counsel to someone and they were not open to it. In hindsight, why do you think they did not receive your counsel?

QUESTION 4: Counsel is often much easier to give than to receive. Share a time when someone gave you counsel and you didn't want to hear it. How would your life be different had you heeded their counsel? How did this affect your relationship with them?

QUESTION 5: Looking back on your life, is there a time when you wished you had asked for more counsel about how to grow in your relationship with God? What held you back?

QUESTION 6: Is there a time when you had another kind of need and wished you had asked for more counsel? Career? Emotional pain? Financial decisions? Large purchases? Relational or marital decisions? What might hold us back from getting solid counsel in these areas?

QUESTION 7: In Matthew 10:16 (ESV) Jesus says, "I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." With this in mind, Chris tians should not approach life with a naive sense that nothing can go wrong just because they are following Christ. What does it look like to maintain innocence while being wise?


Deeper Study

Use the following questions if you have extra time, or if the group desires to dive in at greater length to this week's theme.

Read Exodus 18 aloud. There are 24 verses in this chapter, so you may want to divide it up among a few of you.

QUESTION 8: From verses 9 – 12, what was Jethro's attitude when he came to meet Moses? Was he humble or prideful? Was he encouraging or critical?

QUESTION 9: Exodus 18:14 describes how, before offering advice, Jethro first asked two clarifying questions to get a better sense of the situation Moses was facing. How do you think this impacted Moses' willingness to listen to him (despite the fact that he was Moses' father-in-law)?

QUESTION 10: What lessons can you take from Jethro's approach to giving advice? When giving advice to others, what parts will you try to emulate? What parts will you change?


PERSONAL JOURNAL

Set aside time each day to be intentional about your growth through the following exercises.


Day 1

READ: Proverbs 7

REFLECT: Proverbs 12:5, "The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful."

What plans do you have today? This month? This year? Are your plans just? Have they been brought before a community of wise counselors who know Jesus?

What plans do you have in your career? Your family? Your faith? Your purchases? Are they just? Could you benefit from wise counsel?

RESPOND: What is Jesus asking you to do to apply today's reading to your life?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Wiser Together Study Guide by Bill Hybels, Shane Farmer, Todd Katter. Copyright © 2012 Willow Creek Community Church. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

A Note from Bill Hybels, 7,
A Guide to Your Guide, 9,
SESSION 1 Walking with the Wise, 13,
SESSION 2 The Counsel of Community, 29,
SESSION 3 Iron Sharpens Iron, 45,
SESSION 4 The Heart of Community, 61,
SESSION 5 Faith and Friendship, 75,
APPENDICES — SMALL GROUP RESOURCES,
APPENDIX A: Frequently Asked Questions for the HOST, 93,
APPENDIX B: Top Ten Tips for the HOST, 96,
APPENDIX C: Wiser Together Group Agreement, 100,
APPENDIX d: Inviting Others into Your Group, 101,
APPENDIX e: Prayer Tracker, 102,
APPENDIX F: Answer Key, 103,
APPENDIX G: Group Roster, 106,
APPENDIX H: Group Calendar, 107,
APPENDIX I: Memory Verses, 109,

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