LUKE 1:67-79
Obliviousness: It's Recipe & Remedy

Series: Advent Psalms
This week: Zechariah | Benedictus       
                  Obliviousness: It's Recipe and Remedy
Passage: Luke 1:68-79
Speaker: Pastor Jason

Passages you can look at:
Luke 1:5-25, Luke 1:68-79 
Exodus 33:12-16

1) Seeking Growth: Zechariah's encounter in Luke 1 is that of a believer and minister, in an act of prayer and worship, receiving a direct promise from God through an angel. But in a moment of obliviousness, Zechariah asks for proof that God's promise will come to fulfillment. He's missing the moment, and Luke gives these details of Zechariah's story that are a part of the recipe for his obliviousness:

- Acting out of custom and duty, (Not anticipation or expectation)
- Familiarity (he knew the drill, he knew the routine)
- Low expectations (because of custom, duty, and familiarity, but also because of his circumstances. God had never answered his prayer for a child until now, and now it's a natural impossibility.)

Which of these might be a hindrance to you hearing or experiencing God in moments when you otherwise could?

2) Seeking God/ Seeking Growth: Zechariah's forced silence: not just a punishment, but a prescription

From Fil Anderson's book Running on Empty
Silently sitting and waiting. This is the pattern of encountering God that we see as a model in Old Testament times, in the life of Jesus, and in the lives of the earliest church leaders… One of my most grave concerns is that the church has joined forces with the world in the conspiracy of noise, busyness and hurry. The outcome here is that we are distracted from a life of intimacy with God… 

- Why does the church so easily "join forces with the world in the conspiracy of noise, busyness and hurry"?
- How can you detach from the world's conspiracy of noise, busyness and hurry this week? Over the advent season?
- What practical steps can you take to make times of prayerful and holy silence your own "pattern of encountering God," as was modeled by Jesus and others in Scripture? 

3) Seeking Growth/ Seeking Good
Identify and discuss the many expressions in Zechariah's Psalm of God's commitment to his word. We might expect Zechariah to focus on the fulfillment of God's personal promise of a son to Zechariah. But Zech focuses more broadly on the testimonies from God's word of his faithfulness to his word. What do you take away from this for your own seeking of growth?

4) Seeking Good: 
Zechariah's psalm has some focus on God's past presence and God's future presence, and his psalm is offered while Zechariah is experiencing God's "present presence" (he was filled with the Spirit.) This stands in stark contrast to how he was earlier missing the reality of God's presence. 

Churches (don't think "institutions," think instead of "groups of believers") can run the risk of focusing on other things at the expense of focusing on God's presence: 

“Striving in our strength to get His work done soon becomes living too busy to engage with His presence. We are not doing bad stuff- in fact great stuff, more ministry, more programs, more education, more mission, more justice, more social media promotion of His work. Yet soon, chasing our God-given purposes without the power of his presence, our churches, our services and our lives are packed full. Those empty spaces in which we wait on Him, His leadings, and His voice disappear."
  Mark Sayers, Reappearing Church 

Read Exodus 33:12-17 and discuss Moses' passion and conviction for God's presence. 
Please pray for FLEFC's staff, leaders, ministries and families: that we would prioritize a hunger and need for God's presence above all else.