07.22.18 - Small Group Discussion

Ephesians - One Body

Main Point: Humility plus maturity equals unity.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What is your church background?
     
  • Where/how have you seen humility and/or maturity be used to help bring about unity?
     
  • Have you been involved in a church division? Was it ever resolved? If so, how was it resolved? If not, what could be done still today to help resolve it?

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16.

  • What does it mean to you to live a life worthy of what you’ve been called to? Is it scary? Why or why not? How can you do it?
     
  • In practical terms, how can we show humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love?
     
  • Do Christians tend to live united or divided? Why?
     
  • What gifts do you think God has given you for His glory? How do you use them?
     
  • How are you promoting unity in the church (or how can you promote unity in the church)?
     
  • What does unity mean to you?
     
  • What does the phrase, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, love” mean to you?

Prayer: Pray for humility, maturity, and unity.

Posted on July 22, 2018 .

07.15.18 - Small Group Discussion

Ephesians - Love’s Dimensions

Main Point: If you want a guaranteed “yes,” pray like Paul did.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • How often do you pray?
     
  • Do you have someone in your life that you would consider a person of prayer? Do you fill that role in someone else’s life?

Read: Ephesians 3:1, 14-21.

  • Verses 14-15 references every family deriving its name from God. This continues Paul’s previous writing about all of us being connected. How do you think things would be different if we truly viewed everyone as coming from the same source?
     
  • Have you ever prayed for strength from the Holy Spirit? What happened?
     
  • What does it mean to you to be rooted and established in love?
     
  • Do you feel loved by God? Why or why not?
     
  • How can we “know a love that surpasses knowledge?”
     
  • Since Christians will be known by their love, do people know that you’re a Christian?
     
  • Why is it significant that God works in us and through us to accomplish His goals?

Prayer: Pray Ephesians 3:16-19.

Posted on July 17, 2018 .

07.08.18 - Small Group Discussions

Ephesians - For the Sake of the Gospel

Main Point: What will you give up for the sake the Gospel?

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Have you ever been the steward of something? What was it like?
     
  • What does your prayer life look like? What things distract you while you pray?
     
  • How do you approach conversations about God with others?

Read: Ephesians 3:1-13.

  • Do you see the opportunity to share the Gospel as a good or exciting thing? Why or why not?
     
  • What are you doing to be a good steward of the Gospel?
     
  • Paul gave up everything for the Gospel. What are you willing to give up?
     
  • When your faith requires sacrifice, do you find yourself whining or grumbling about it, or do you gladly accept the cost?
     
  • Penn Jillette says we must truly hate someone in order to refuse to share the Gospel with them just to avoid a bit of social awkwardness. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
     
  • In what areas of your life do you have people you can share the Gospel with? What are you doing to share with them?

Prayer: Pray for the courage to share the Gospel and be willing to give up whatever is required.

Posted on July 8, 2018 .

07.01.18 - Small Group Discussion

Ephesians - Reconciled by Blood

Main Point: The blood of Jesus is the adhesive the holds the Church together.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Describe yourself.
     
  • Was “Christian” one of your descriptors? How far down the list was it?
     
  • What are some identities that we place before our identities as Christians? Why do we do this?

Read: Ephesians 2:1-11-22.

  • Maybe you don’t identify with the divide between Gentile and Jew, but chances are you still have a divide somewhere. What causes that divide, even when they’re fellow Christians?
     
  • Share a time when you have felt unity with other Christians.
     
  • Jesus made one humanity and wanted peace. He gave us a new citizenship. What citizenship do you identify most with? What citizenship do you allow to most dictate your actions?
     
  • Since we are citizens of God’s kingdom, do national borders matter? Why or why not?
     
  • Do you allow family into your home or kick them out? Why?
     
  • How will you promote peace and unity?

Prayer: Pray for peace and unity.

Posted on June 30, 2018 .

06.24.18 Small Group Discussion

Ephesians - Saved by Grace

Main Point: Grace Saves, not works.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • When have you been shown grace?
     
  • Is it harder for you to give or receive grace? Why?

    Read: Ephesians 2:1-10.
  • The first verses speak to us all being dead in our sin. Do you struggle with remembering where you started when you look at others who are not yet Christ-followers? Why or why not?
     
  • What is the difference between a Christ-follower and someone who does not follow Christ?
     
  • Jesus redeemed us before we decided to follow Him. Does this order of events match what we expect of people coming to church? Why or why not? (In other words, do we expect them to live like they’re saved before they’ve decided to follow Jesus?)
     
  • What does it mean to you that you were dead and are made alive through Christ?
     
  • Do you struggle with the fact that grace is what saves you, instead of works? Why or why not?
     
  • We are called to do good works. What does that mean?

Prayer: Pray that you see people through the lens of grace.

Posted on June 27, 2018 .

06.17.18 - Small Group Discussion

Ephesians - The Power Within You

Main Point: In Christ, we have been chosen.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What is something you tried to help your parent do when you were a child?
     
  • Why do we struggle to believe that God’s power is available to us?

Read: Ephesians 1:15-23.

  • What do you think the reputation of SLCC is? Why?
     
  • How often do you pray for wisdom and revelation compared to other things? Why do you think your prayers are the way they are?
     
  • What does hope mean to you? Do you live as one who has hope? Why or why not?
     
  • Have you had something you were/are excited to inherit? How does it make you feel that the Church, and therefore you, are God’s inheritance?
     
  • What is your favorite example of God’s power?
     
  • What is the hope that you get from Jesus being seated above all earthly powers and domains?
     
  • Why do we struggle to hold on to that hope when hardships come our way?
     
  • How can you live in a way that shows you believe that God’s power is available to you?

Prayer: Pray that you will open yourself up to God’s power.

Posted on June 19, 2018 .

06.10.18 - Small Group Discussion

Ephesians - God’s Holy Children

Main Point: In Christ, we have been chosen.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What is your typical response to things that confuse you (such as, do you try to understand? Get frustrated? Etc.)
     
  • Share something that previously confused you but makes sense to you now. How did you come to understand it?
     
  • What is something in the Bible that confuses you?

Read: Ephesians 1:1-14.

  • What does it mean to you to be chosen and adopted by God?
     
  • Paul writes that all things are to be brought into unity in Jesus. How does this impact how we interact with every single person we meet regardless of who they are?
     
  • When we believe, we are marked with the Holy Spirit, meaning new and old Christians both have the same Holy Spirit. What does this mean for each Christian’s ability to understand God and speak about spiritual things?
     
  • Why is it important that God predestined that all who follow Jesus are adopted into His family, as opposed to God predestining who it is that is adopted?

Prayer: Thank God for His willingness to adopt us into His family.

Posted on June 10, 2018 .

06.03.18 - Small Group Discussion

MEYOUSEX - Married Sex

  • This has been a thought-provoking series. What have been some of the concepts that have been the most challenging?

  • The main idea behind this series is that our individual actions have an impact on the entire church. Why does that concept run so counter to our thinking? 

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

  • Paul wrote, “You are not your own.” Whose are you? What is the implication of that shift in belonging?
     
  • What does glorifying God in your body look like, in practical terms.

Read: 1 Corinthians 7:1-9

  • What are some of the obstacles that couples face in making themselves sexually available to one another?
     
  • If you are married, what are the challenges you face, personally, in yielding authority over your body to your spouse?
     
  • How can couples work together to embody the idea: “It’s not about me; it’s not about you, it’s about us.”?
     
  • Paul writes that he wishes everyone were as he is – unmarried. Why do you think he makes that statement?
     
  • What are some of the benefits of being unmarried? How can individuals who remain single embrace the idea: “It’s not about me; it’s not about you, it’s about us.”?

Prayer: Pray for one another! Pray for married couples to glorify God in their marriage. Pray for unmarried adults to glorify God in their singleness.

Posted on June 3, 2018 .

05.27.18 - Small Group Discussion

MEYOUSEX - Temple Purity

Main Point: The only sexual choice for Christians is to honor God with their bodies.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What are some of the laws we break “because it isn’t hurting anybody?”
     
  • What is something our culture allows or encourages that you struggle with because it doesn’t fit with a Christian faith? In other words, what is a guilty pleasure that you know as a Christian you should not be a part of?

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

  • What rights do you cling to that as a Christian you should not?
     
  • Does Paul’s point of being united as one impact how you view sex and things such as porn? Why or why not?
     
  • Paul then says that we are likewise united with God in spirit. What does this mean to you?
  • What do you think of when you think of a temple?
     
  • How does the fact that we were bought with a price and are not our own impact how you live and treat yourself and others?
     
  • How can you honor God with your body?

Prayer: Pray that you will see yourself and others as Children of God and as current or future temples of the Holy Spirit. Pray that your actions will be impacted as a result.

Posted on May 27, 2018 .

05.20.18 - Small Group Discussion

MEYOUSEX - A Floodlight, not a spotlight

Main Point: Our job is to love people; the Holy Spirit’s job is to change people.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What communities have you been a part of? What were the benefits of being part of that community?
     
  • What are the responsibilities of a member of a community?
     
  • Do you feel like the Church is a community? Why or why not?

Read: 1 Corinthians 6:1-10.

  • Paul mentions lawsuits are something that reflects poorly on the Church. What are some other things that can occur within the Church that reflect poorly on the whole community?
     
  • Sexual sins are listed equally among many other sins. Why do you think there is typically a more negative attitude towards sexual sins?
     
  • How do you do at recognizing that temptation is not sin?
     
  • We have all sinned. People will often ignore or downplay their own faults while hi-lighting the sins of others. Why do we do this?
     
  • What is the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian?
     
  • Our job is to love people. The Holy Spirit’s job is to change people. How are you at keeping those job descriptions straight and sticking to the loving and not the judging?

Prayer: Pray that you will love all people, and leave any judgment to the Holy Spirit.

Posted on May 20, 2018 .

05.13.18 - Small Group Discussion

MEYOUSEX - Me, Us, and Y’all

Main Point: The Church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders while insiders act like outsiders.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What family traditions do you have? As you grew up, were there traditions that were hard to let go of or change?
     
  • In what ways do we struggle to leave our old lives and follow Jesus?
     
  • How has the Church struggled in pointing at outsiders and telling them to change while not living that way ourselves?

Read: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

  • Why does Paul say to excommunicate the man (meaning kick him out) from church?
     
  • Have you seen one person, or a small group of people, whose actions have had a great impact on a whole church? Why is it that one person’s actions can affect so many?
     
  • What is the draw to become a Christian when Christians look just like the world, or in comes cases, worse than the world?
     
  • Paul says to judge those within the Church, not those who are outside of it. How has the Church done at this? How have you done at this?
     
  • How can we show acceptance of people without giving approval to their actions?

Prayer: Pray that you can see people in God’s image.

Posted on May 13, 2018 .

05.06.18 - Small Group Discussion

MEYOUSEX - God made sex (too)

Main Point: Sex is not just physical; it’s spiritual. It either reflects God’s image, or it corrupts it.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • In what areas of your life do you compartmentalize things? What are the dangers of doing so?
     
  • As a whole, how has the Church compartmentalized itself? Do you see the Church being involved, or should it be involved, in all facets of life? Why or why not?
     
  • Did you grow up in a household where sex was something you could talk about, or was it more of a secret topic?

Read: Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18-24.

  • What does it mean to you to be made in the image of God?
     
  • Adam knew it was not good for him to be alone, because he saw the pairings of all the animals. What do you think is the benefit to Adam having realized that before he had Eve, as opposed to Adam and Eve being made at the same time?
     
  • What is the significance of a man leaving his father and mother to be with his wife in regard to how we approach our family relationships?
     
  • How can we make progress in seeing all people as being made in the image of God?

Prayer: Pray that you can see people in God’s image.

Posted on May 8, 2018 .

04.29.18 - Small Group Discussion

Fierce - The Wise Woman of Tekoa

Main Point: Hope.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • How do you define hope?
     
  • When is a time in your life that hope has been an integral part?
     
  • Have you been part of a group giving hope to others? What was that like?
     
  • How does a lack of hope impact people?

Read: 2 Samuel 14:1-13.

  • Was it right for Joab to use the woman to get David to see things in a different light? Why or why not?
     
  • David is quicker to provide forgiveness to the woman’s son who he does not know than he is to give forgiveness to his son Absalom. Why do you think this was? Are you similar to David in this regard?

Read: 2 Samuel 14:14.

  • What is the perception of death in this verse?
     
  • What is the hope in this verse?
     
  • How does this hope impact how we live?
     
  • Why do we hesitate, or fail, to share this hope?
     
  • Is it harder for you to share the hope of Christ with people close to you or slightly less close? Why?

Prayer: Pray to be filled with hope and open to opportunities to share it.

Posted on April 30, 2018 .

04.22.18 - Small Group Discussion

Fierce - Abigail

Main Point: We all need someone in our lives to check out judgment. Moreover, we can all be that person.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Who is someone who can speak truth into your life and call you out when needed?
     
  • What are some of the components that can make things go well when someone is being called out? What are some of the components that can make things go poorly?
     
  • What stops us from calling people out when they need to be?

Read: 1 Samuel 25:2-17.

  • David reacts in anger because his pride is hurt. How do you react when your pride is hurt? Is it a time when you are open to hearing someone call you out?
     
  • Nabal’s servant goes to Abigail to have her fix the problem. What can we learn and apply to our lives when we look at the servant going to Abigail, instead of the servant dealing with the situation?

Read: 1 Samuel 25:19-38

  • Abigail saved all the males of Nabal’s line and David’s reputation because she had the courage to call David out. What are some of the things you have been able to take a step back from and re-evaluate because someone cared enough to call you on it?
     
  • How do you approach a person when you need to call them out?
     
  • Can anyone speak into anyone’s life to call them on their mistakes? Why or why not?

Prayer: Pray for courage to speak into a loved one’s life when it’s necessary, and the wisdom to listen when people speak into yours.

Posted on April 22, 2018 .

04.15.18 - Small Group Discussion

Fierce - Deborah and Jael
 

 Main Point: God chooses leaders based on their faith, not their facade.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • What are the qualities or characteristics that you look for in a leader?
     
  • Why do you think we put so much weight on exterior qualities?
     
  • Who is one of your favorite surprising leaders in the Bible? Why?

Read: Judges 4:1-10.

  • Verses 1-3 establish the pattern that Israel falls into. Why does it seem like Israel is constantly unintelligent, but we have a hard time seeing the same pattern in ourselves?
     
  •  In verses 4-10, Barak says he wants Deborah to go with him. Why do you think he wanted her with him? Have you ever wanted someone to be with you when attempting a task?

Read: Judges 4:14-24.

  • Is there shame in a woman getting the glory for this battle? Why or why not?
     
  • Jael was not an Israelite, but she was chosen by God. How do you react when an outsider is brought in to lead? How does our culture approach outsiders as leaders?
     
  • What are some of your prejudices and assumptions regarding leaders that you need to work on?
     
  • How can we raise up leaders to have the proper qualities that truly matter?

Prayer: Pray for wisdom in electing leaders and wisdom in how you lead.

Posted on April 15, 2018 .

04.08.18 - Small Group Discussion

Fierce - Jochebed 

Main Point: Do the right thing and trust God to work it out.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Who is the toughest woman you know? Why?
     
  • Jochebed’s name was almost lost to history. Who are some women whose names have been forgotten that have made an impact in your life?
     
  • Who is your favorite woman in the Bible? Why?

Read: Exodus 2:1-10.      

  • How would things be different if Jochebed had obeyed Pharaoh’s law?
     
  • What would the impact have been if Miriam wasn’t willing to step up and speak to Pharaoh’s daughter?
     
  • What are some of the other options that Pharaoh’s daughter could have taken?
     
  • Jochebed gave up Moses twice. Do you think it was easier or harder the second time? Why?
     
  • Have you had a time where you’ve had to choose between what God says is right and what the law says is right? How did you handle that situation?
     
  • Have you ever lost something because you followed God’s will instead of mankind’s will? Explain the situation, if you’re comfortable.
     
  • How can ‘doing the right thing and trusting God to work it out’ make things easier in your life?

Prayer: Pray for courage and boldness to do the right thing, no matter what, even when it doesn’t seem like it will make a difference.

Posted on April 8, 2018 .

04.01.18 - Small Group Discussion

Point of View - Divorce

Main Point: The resurrection is just the beginning!

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Frank talked about surprise endings. Share with your group about an ending that surprised you.

Read: Mark 1:1; John 21:25

  • Mark wrote that his Gospel was just the beginning of all that Jesus did. John wrote that it would be impossible to record all that Jesus did. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they recorded certain events. Why did they choose the events they did? What is their significance? 

Read: Mark 16:1-8

  • Each of the Gospels records that women were the first to know that the tomb was empty. Why?
     
  • Mark gives an interesting detail about the angel’s position in the tomb. Is there importance to where the angel is seated? If so, what is its importance?
     
  • Mark’s Gospel ends so abruptly that, at some later date, an editor added verses 9-20. There is a lot of speculation about why it might have ended so suddenly, but assuming that the ending is intentional: why do you think the ending was so sudden?
     
  • We’re so familiar with Jesus’ story that the resurrection isn’t much of a surprise for us. But for those in the first century, it was an earth-altering event, a stunning plot twist. Put yourself in the shoes of the eyewitnesses of the resurrection. What would your reaction have been?
     
  • What is the effect of the resurrection for you and me? How does it change your point of view?

Prayer: Since the resurrection proves that failure isn’t final, pray that God will help you to live as an overcomer!

Action: I Love My City is coming up on April 29. Frank tells me that he has heard from only one group about the project they are undertaking. If your group had talked about a service project please communicate those details with Frank via Email.

Posted on April 4, 2018 .

03.25.08 - Small Group Discussion

Point of View - Divorce

Main Point: You can’t change your point of view on your own; you need God’s help

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Have you ever had a change of view that was so sudden that it caught you by surprise?

Read: Mark 10:46-52

  • Why do you suppose Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” He was all-knowing so Jesus already knew. Not only that, but wasn’t it obvious? Bartimaeus was blind. So why did Jesus ask a question with such an obvious answer?
     
  • Mark wrote that Bartimaeus followed Jesus down the road. If he followed him the entire way into Jerusalem, what would he have seen (for the very first time!)?

 Read: Mark 11:1-25

  • Like the people accompanying Jesus into Jerusalem, we can easily make Jesus into our own version of a Savior – one whose chief goals are to save us from physical, financial and emotional difficulties. Jesus’ salvation is primarily spiritual, though. What does that mean for us?
     
  • Like the fig tree, the religious leaders in Jerusalem looked healthy on the outside, but they were without fruit. How is this a danger for us? What can we do about it?
     
  • Try as we might, the only way we can change our point of view to Jesus’ point of view is with God’s help. How does he help us experience His point of view?

Prayer: Pray for God to help you experience Jesus’ point of view in every area of your life.

 Action: I Love My City is coming up on April 29. Has your group talked about a service project you can take on? Have you communicated those details with frank by emailing him.

Posted on March 25, 2018 .

03.18.18 - Small Group Discussion

Point of View - Divorce

Main Point: You live in a self-serve world, but you’re part of a world-serve church.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Share with your group a recent example of incredible service that you witnessed or experienced.
     
  • What is it about our world that has so conditioned us to expect to be served more than to serve?

Read: Mark 10:32-34

  • This is the third time Jesus has told his disciples what awaited him in Jerusalem. This is the most detailed of the three. Why did Jesus keep returning to this theme in Mark 8-10?
     
  • We have the benefit of viewing Jesus’ death in light of his resurrection. How does that give us an advantage over Jesus’ first twelve disciples?

Read: Mark 10:35-45

  • Put yourself in this story. Are you more like James and John or are you more like the “indignant” disciples? Why do you think that?
     
  • Jesus has just told his followers that he will be betrayed, mocked, spit on, flogged, whipped and killed before rising again on the third day. How must he be feeling as he confronts their jockeying for rank and position?
     
  • Jesus makes it clear that the Church should look differently than the world when it comes to power structures and authority. How are we doing that? Are there ways that the Church reflects the world that need to be confronted? Where is the Church getting it right in terms of having Jesus’ outlook on service?
     
  • What is a specific way you can emulate Jesus attitude of service this week?

Prayer: Pray for your perspective on service to align with Jesus’ point of view.

Action: I Love My City is coming up on April 29. Talk about a service project your group can take on and then share those details with frank by emailing him.

Posted on March 19, 2018 .

03.11.18 Small Group Questions

Point of View - Divorce

Main Point: Divorce is not the enemy of marriage; a hard heart is.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • This might be a difficult conversation but if your group feels safe enough share how divorce has impacted you and your family.
     
  • There was a time when many churches did not feel like they were safe places to go through or recover from divorce. Why do you think that was? What has changed?

Read: Mark 10:1-12

  • Frank said the Pharisees were more concerned about their rights than their responsibilities. They were always looking for a loophole. In what ways are we like that? Why?
     
  • Women in the time of Moses had few rights. Moses’ instructions in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 were for their protection. In Mark 10 how did Jesus elevate the status of women in his answer to the Pharisees?
     
  • David Garland wrote, “Divorce happens, but Jesus attributes it to a sclerosis of the heart – deliberate disobedience to God.” What are some ways in which we allow our hearts to grow hard, either in marriage or in general?
     
  • How can each of us foster a tender heart?

Bonus Read: If you have time, and are so inclined read Mark 10:13-16

  • Why are children so important to Jesus? In what ways should our spiritual lives should be childlike
     
  • Jesus just taught about marriage and divorce. Now he talks about children and childlikeness. How are these two subjects connected?

Prayer: Pray for your heart to become more tender.
Action: Talk about something specific you plan to do this week to cultivate a tender heart.

Posted on March 10, 2018 .