Lights shimmer around the neighborhood, snow blankets the ground, fires are lit, snowmen are built, & noses get red. The air is brimming with magic.

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1 The Hope Of Christ LEADER INTRO Things always get exciting this time of year, don t they? Lights shimmer around the neighborhood, snow blankets the ground, fires are lit, snowmen are built, & noses get red. The air is brimming with magic. But we, who follow Christ, know the excitement of this time of year comes from something so much bigger and more significant than the lights, the weather, and the presents. We know that this advent season points to our only hope: Christ. This semester we ve talked a lot about why we are broken, and why we really needed that baby born in a manger some 2000 years ago. We ve talked about why the Messiah is worth following. We ve talked about how to see that brokenness in ourselves and how that makes us relate to one another s brokenness. Now comes the fun part. We get to talk about the hope! Our first week of curriculum is meant to be a recap of what we ve hopefully learned this semester. We will talk about our sin condition and why it needed to be fixed by Jesus. Then for the second week, we want to give you a bit of freedom. We know the last week of Home Group typically involves high energy and low curriculum. So we want you to take the time to let your students reflect on their last semester in school, in friendships, at home, and at Home Group. If you choose to do so, you can also talk about the Hope that Christ Brings in whatever way you feel best fits your group! We ll give you a few ideas, but we trust that you know your group best. Thank you for being an incredible part of your students lives. We on the HSM Staff Team appreciate you more than you can possibly know. We feel so confident that our volunteers are the absolute best J During this advent season, we pray that you remember your own hope in Christ. We pray that you feel poured into. We pray you feel the Holy Spirit moving! We pray you feel love. 1

2 The Hope Of Christ 1 : HOW DID WE GET HERE? Purpose: To reflect back on what we have talked about this semester. To talk about sin- what it is, how it got here, and what we can do about it (Spoiler alert: we can t do anything! But through Christ we can be healed!) Large Group Ideas: Video: The Bible Project: Letter to the Romans If any of your students went to Spiritual Retreat, please feel free to give them some time to share about their experience! Tonight, we want to talk about what we ve been talking about all semester why we need a savior and how we got to this place. We want to frame this conversation around the idea of sin entering the world. CONNECT > [30 minutes for questions, life sharing (ex. Highs & lows), & journals] 1. What s something you remember from Home Group this year? (Could be Curriculum, a funny story, large group game, etc.) 2. Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you didn t think was wrong? How did you react? 3. It s easy to look around and see a lot of people who think they re doing the right thing, even when they re not. Have you seen this happening recently? 4. Have you ever justified your own behavior by claiming good intentions? 5. Soularium cards: What image would you choose to best describe God s grace or mercy? 2

3 UNDERSTAND > [25 minutes for Understanding Questions] Where did sin first come from? Read Genesis 2:16-17 and 3: Adam and Eve sin by consuming the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Why did they eat the fruit? Was the sin in their hearts, before the action, or was it in the action itself? 2. What does God say their sin was? (Genesis 3:17) Read Romans 7: How do these verses fit in the context of the Garden of Eden? What was the law in the garden? 2. According to this passage, where does sin come from? The author of Romans, Paul, certainly knew about sin. He was an accomplished Jewish scholar and a strong persecutor of the early Christian church. He hunted down Christians zealously until Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus and he became a Christian. 1. What, in your eyes, was Saul s greatest sin? (You can refer to Acts 8:1-3 and the end of Acts 7 for the stoning of Stephen and/or Acts 22:3-5) 2. While he was persecuting Christians, was Saul trying to follow the will of God? Read Romans 3: Why do we need Jesus to be saved from sin? Why can t we do it ourselves? LIVE > [20 minutes for Living Questions] 1. Sin can come from actions, thoughts, or intentions, but it doesn t have to be all three. When was a time you sinned through actions, with good intentions? Or sinned with bad intentions, even if your actions were good? 2. Can we defeat sin by wanting and trying to be good? Like, trying really hard? 3. Does following Jesus (or religion) feel easy to you or does it feel like a burden? Why? Sin is heavy to talk about and deal with, but in Matthew 11:28 Jesus us calls him to himself and promises us rest. In return for our burdens, he gives us an easy and light load. Following Christ shouldn t be a burden-- if it is, we re missing something! Grace gives us freedom from being burdened by our sin. 4. We know that, if we live by faith, we ought to be at peace, loving to all around us, and devoted to Christ. But we do sin. If you are sinned against by someone a friend, a family member, or a schoolmate how can you use that as an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ? 3

4 The Hope Of Christ 2 : LOOKING BACK & LOOKING AHEAD Purpose: To reflect on the semester as it relates to Home Group, the curriculum, school, & life! To share the changes we have seen in each other and ourselves. To talk about the Hope that Christ brings to our mess, our sin condition There s not much structure for curriculum tonight! Instead, we have some questions you can use to guide a reflective conversation, as well as some ideas for how to talk about the hope of Christ. Thanks, leaders, for all you do! Merry Christmas and we ll see you next year! Questions to help think about the past semester: 1. What has been the hardest part of Home Group this semester? What has been the easiest part of Home Group? 2. What are three things that will stick with you that we talked about in small group this semester? 3. How have you changed this semester? 4. What are three things you would want to change about Home Group this semester? 5. What are three things you would want to talk about in Home Group next semester? Ways to talk about the hope of Christ (not an exhaustive list): Share your story. If your students don t know why you re following Christ, they should! Have a student share their story. Simply ask your students: What does it mean to have hope in Christ? Why does He bring us hope? Ask: What does hope mean? What did we need hope from? If your group did a service project, talk about that! Look at your favorite Christmas carol and talk about the words. (On the next page we ve included the lyrics to O Holy Night. You can use this song or another!) 4

5 O Holy Night The stars are brightly shining It is the night of our dear Savior's birth Long lay the world in sin and e'er pining 'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices. O night divine O night when Christ was born O night divine, O night, O night divine. Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land. The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger; In all our trials born to be our friend. He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger, Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend! Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend! Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever, His power and glory evermore proclaim. O night divine, O night, O night divine 5

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