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A Seat at the Table

Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” LUKE 5:27-32 NLT

What is community?

People in community have two things in common: Jesus and location

At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names: Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). LUKE 6:13-16 NLT

Why do we need community?

To follow Jesus is to live in community

“Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. LUKE 5:27b-28 NLT

Here it’s safe to be vulnerable and good to be accountable

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. ROMANS 12:10-13 NLT

How do we experience this kind of community?

Gather around the table

“The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’” LUKE 7:34 NLT
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” LUKE 22:19 NLT

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Community Group Discussion Questions

  1. If someone asked you what the cure for loneliness was, what would you tell them and why?
  2. When or where do you most often experience feelings of isolation or loneliness?
  3. Read Luke 6:13-16. Jesus’ disciples were quite an eclectic bunch. In what practical ways does your group work out or celebrate its differences?
  4. Of the three things shared this weekend that keep people from vulnerability in community (selfishness, standards, or being scared), which one most often keeps you from being vulnerable and what can you begin to do to overcome it?
  5. Read Luke 7:34. Jesus had a reputation for spending too much time at tables with people; how often do you experience “table time” face to face in authentic community with friends or family?
  6. What is one thing you can do this week to take better advantage of “table time” to enhance your authentic community experience as a group or with your friends and family?

Personal Reflection Guide

Read Psalm 34:18, then take a moment to quiet yourself before God, asking him to help you be real with yourself and him during this time. As you pray, ask yourself, on a scale from 1 to 10, how lonely you feel. If you find yourself feeling lonely, ask God to meet you there in your loneliness and to provide you with a sense of belonging to him and his family. As he meets you there, ask him to bring to mind specific people you can connect with. Take a step of courage this week to reach out and join in community. If, on the other hand, you find yourself blessed by not feeling lonely, ask God to show you people in your circle who are struggling with loneliness. Take a step of compassion to show God’s love by asking them into your community. As you close your time, thank God for his consistent care for you. Thank him for meeting you in the lonely places, and ask him for eyes to see those around you who need a place at the table.

My Notes