01.20.19 - Small Group Discussion

Core Training - Community

Transformation happens better in circles than in rows. 

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • Frank taught us, “Transformation happens better in circles than in rows.” What are some of the circles in your life in which you have experienced transformation?

Read: 1 Thessalonians 2:8

  • Our small group strategy at SLCC is to share the Gospel and our lives. In what ways is your group winning at that strategy? In what ways can you do better? 

Read: Acts 2:42-47

  • The early church “devoted themselves” to these practices. What did that devotion look like and how can we emulate it?

  • Think about your small group for a moment and talk about how you’re doing in engaging with the four practices in verse 42. Do you need to do better in those? If so, how?

  • What can your small group do to share your property and possessions with people in our fellowship who are in need (verse 45)?

  • How can your group advance the Kingdom of God by adding to the fellowship those who are being saved (verse 47)?

Prayer: Ask God to give your group the conviction to pursue an Acts 2:42-47 fellowship and the courage to go for it!

Posted on January 20, 2019 .

01.13.19 - Small Group Discussion

Core Training - Grace

Love is truth wrapped in grace. 

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • How has your perspective on truth and grace been shaped by the way you experienced the church and/or Christians in the past?

Read: Galatians 3:27; Colossians 3:12-14

  • Paul likens being baptized to being “clothed with Christ.” Why do you think he used that imagery? What are the implications of it for His followers?

  • Which of the “clothes” Paul mentions in Colossians 3:12 resonates with you the most? Why?

  • Verse 13 tells us to “bear with one another” (NIV) or “make allowances for each other” (NLT). What are some practical ways we can do that?

  • It is a subtle distinction, but how can we become a church that isn’t just known for being against sin, but for being for sinners? 

Prayer: Ask God to help you start from a place of grace when you encounter people whose actions run counter to the truth of His Word.

Posted on January 12, 2019 .

01.06.19 - Small Group Discussion

Core Training - God’s Story

You turn the page for the next generation. 

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • As you begin the new year, this week will be about getting to know the people in your group better. What is your faith story? Take a moment to go around the room and share them with the others in your small group.

 Read: Psalm 145:1-7

  • What are some of the mighty ways you have seen God work in your life?

  • What are some ways you can share the story of God’s wonderful goodness in your life?

  • Frank taught us on Sunday that each of us are responsible to “turn the page” of God’s Story by sharing what God has done with the next generation. Who are some of the people in your life that you want to know about God?

 Prayer: Spend some time praying for the people you talked about in the last question. Pray for each other to be courageous in sharing who God is and what He has done in your lives.

Posted on January 6, 2019 .

12.30.18 - Small Group Discussion

Christmas For Lansing - Repeat

If you repeat what we learned this month you could change your world. 

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • What makes applying the “shampoo algorithm” (Lather. Rinse. Repeat.) so challenging to everyday life situations?

Read: Ezekiel 37:27-27

  • What is one way you were fully present to God and others that you want to take with you into the new year?

Read: Jeremiah 29:7

  • What is a space in your life (work, school, neighborhood, etc.) that you find most challenging to be a person of peace? How can you be more successful? 

Read: Matthew 5:14-16

  • What was the way you “let your light shine before others” this past month that you found made the biggest difference?

Read: 1 John 3:16-18

  • What is a specific way you want to show the love of God to others in 2019? What would help you succeed in doing that?

Prayer: Pray for the will and the wisdom to apply the “shampoo algorithm” to the way you interact with others in the coming year.

Posted on January 2, 2019 .

12.23.18 - Small Group Discussion

Christmas For Lansing - Love

Don’t just say “I love you;” show “I love you.”

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • Frank talked about Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages (Quality Time, Touch, Acts of Service, Affirming Words, Giving Gifts). Which is yours?

Read: John 3:16-17

  • Who in your “world” is difficult for you to love? What would it mean to love that person the way Jesus does?

Read: John 15:13; 1 John 3:16-18

  • We ought to lay down our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. Are we willing to do so? Why or why not?

  • How does our attachment to our material possessions compete with the way we know we ought to love?

  • This command is not unclear or ambiguous. So why is it so difficult to obey?

  • If you were to go all in and love the way John describes in 1 John 3:16-18 what would change? Be as specific as you can.

  • What is one specific thing you can do this week to go beyond just saying, “I love you,” to showing “I love you?” 

Prayer: Pray for God to loosen the grip material possessions has on you so you’re able to love more like Jesus loves.

Posted on December 23, 2018 .

12.16.18 - Small Group Discussion

Christmas For Lansing - Light

Main Point: Once we grasp the noun, we will live out the verb. 

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • When do you decorate for Christmas, and what is your favorite kind of Christmas light?

  • Why do you think the dark has so much negativity with it (fear, depression, etc.)?

Read: John 1:1-9, Matthew 5:14-16.

  • How do you describe or reconcile there being one God with Jesus also being God?

  • Do you think of Jesus being the Creator? Why or why not?

  • What feelings or encouragement do you get from verse 5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”?

  • Verse 8 of John’s passage states that John the Baptist was a witness to the light, and the Matthew passage states that we are the light. Do you feel lucky or happy to live in the time we do, or do you sometimes feel like the Biblical times would have been better because you could have physically seen Jesus?

  • Do you feel like the light? Why or why not?

  • How can you be a light this Christmas season?

Prayer: Pray that you will shine as a bright light and not hide your light.

Posted on December 16, 2018 .

12.09.18 - Small Group Discussion

Christmas For Lansing - Peace

Be the person of peace where God plants you.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • Have you done a mail-in DNA profile? All of us come from somewhere. Where are your ancestors from?

Read: Jeremiah 29:4-7

  • Imagine yourself in the exiled Jews’ circumstances. How would you have received Jeremiah’s prophecy?

  • Is God’s instruction to pray for Babylon’s peace and prosperity just practical advice for the Jews’ good, or is something else going on?

  • What are some ways we can work for the peace and prosperity of the places God plants us? 

Read: Philippians 3:20, 2 Peter 3:13 and John 18:36.

  • We are citizens of Heaven looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth with Jesus as sovereign. How should that affect the way we live now?

  • Exile, refugee, expatriate, and sojourner: they all describe citizens who aren’t living in their home country. How do these words describe us as people living far from our eternal home?

  • If we are not permanent citizens of earth, how can we “work for the peace and prosperity” of the places God has planted us?

Prayer: Pray for God to help you understand your heavenly citizenship and to be his ambassador of peace and prosperity in the places you’ve been planted.

Posted on December 10, 2018 .

12.02.18 Small Group Discussion

Christmas for Lansing - Presence

Be fully present to God and fully present to others.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • What is it about the holidays that makes it most difficult for you to be fully present to God and others?

  • If Jesse Jackson is right and “our children need our presence more than our presents,” then why do we struggle so much with balancing that?

Read: Genesis 3:8 and 3:23-24; Ezekiel 37:27-28; John 1:14; Revelation 21:3

  • The failure to be fully present is, at its core, rejection. How is the way we handle the rejection of someone not being present different than the way God handles rejection?

  • Immediately after their sin, God initiated a way for His children to return to His presence. What about God’s actions demonstrates the lengths He is willing to go in order for His children to experience His presence?

  • John wrote that Jesus dwelled (literally, “tabernacled”) among his people. What does a presence of that kind of depth entail?

  • Revelation ends with humanity restored to God’s presence. What about that do you most look forward to?

  • How can we embody God’s desire to be present to us in the way we choose to be present to others?

Prayer: Pray for the ability to slow down and focus enough this Christmas to be fully present to God and fully present to others.

 

Posted on December 3, 2018 .

11.18.18 Small Group Discussion

FOMO - Between Then and Now and What Will Be

Main Point: Peace and contentment are the result of gratitude and prayer.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • How have your perspectives changed during different times of your life?

  • Have you ever felt trapped in a situation? What was it like? What helped you feel free from it?

  • Why is contentment hard?

Read: Philippians 4:4-13.

  • What does contentment mean to you? Does contentment mean that you are happy with your situation? Does it mean that you are ok with your situation?

  • What keeps you from praying in all situations of life?

  • Have you noticed a difference in your attitude during times that you pray regularly compared to times when you are not praying? Do you think your attitude is connected to whether or not you’re praying? Why or why not?

  • Does your attitude change when you focus on good things as opposed to bad things? If so, how?

  • In verse 8, is Paul saying to ignore the bad things in life and pretend they don’t exist? How do we balance focusing on the good when there is bad all around?

  • What does “peace beyond understanding” mean to you?

  • Paul says he is able to be content due to God giving him the strength to be content. Do you believe that you can, too? Does your life reflect that belief?

Prayer: Pray for contentment.

Posted on November 18, 2018 .

11.11.18 Small Group Discussion

FOMO - Missing Out on What Matters

Main Point: FOMO makes temporary decisions at the expense of eternal destiny.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • How did your choices in activities as a child (or the choices you make for your children) reflect your priorities?

  • Why is the fear of missing out so powerful?

  • Have your priorities changed since you were a child? Do your activities and usage of time reflect that change?

Read: Luke 16:19-31.

  • Why is it so hard to keep our focus on eternity?

  • The rich man held on to his wealth and Lazarus suffered. What are you holding on to that is causing others to suffer because you won’t share, because you’re afraid that sharing will cause you to miss out?

  • Does your life reflect a fear of “my church” or “my God” being changed by others that is preventing you from sharing it with others?

  • What choices are you making that impact eternal destinies, both positively and negatively?

Prayer: Pray that you keep your focus on eternity.

Posted on November 11, 2018 .

11.04.18 - Small Group Discussion

FOMO - Is God Enough?

Main Point: Contentment > FOMO

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • Have you had a time in your life where you’ve felt content? What was it like?

  • What are you afraid of missing out on (or what have you previously been afraid of missing out on)?

  • Do you feel like God is enough? Why or why not?

Read: Genesis 2:15-17 and 3:1-7, 23-24.

  • Why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden?

  • The serpent’s lies contained some truth. How are lies with truth in them harder to resist?

  • Why is contentment important and why is the fear of missing out bad?

  • How does contentment help combat the fear of missing out?

  • Why do you trade being in God’s presence for wanting what other people have?

  • When is it hardest for you to believe that God is enough?

  • What will you do this week to help your contentment win over your fear of missing out?

Prayer: Pray for contentment in what you have.

Posted on November 5, 2018 .

10.28.18 - Small Group Discussion

Social Media - Chatter or Change?

Main Point: Are you changing people’s hearts, or just adding to the chatter?

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • Why do you use social media?

  • Why is it important that we examine why we surround ourselves or involve ourselves in the things that we do?

Read: Psalm 34:11-14 and 141:3-4, Colossians 4:5-6, and Philippians 4:8

  • Do you consider whether your posting (or talking to others) is helping to bring about change, or if it’s just adding to the chatter?

  • How is evil overcome by good?

  • Do you know someone that you would describe as having conversation that is “gracious and attractive?” What do they do that makes them fit that description?

  • David says to work to maintain peace. What does that look like?

  • What do you do to help control your interactions on social media?

  • Have you ever prayed for God to take control of what you say and guard your lips?

  • How will you be a positive change on social media this week?

Prayer: Pray that you use social media in a way that makes a difference.

Posted on November 5, 2018 .

10.21.18 - Small Group Discussion

Social Media - 140 Character Conflict

Main Point: iContact is no substitute for Eye Contact.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • When did you get your first cell phone?

  • Gossip and comments are no longer just spoken behind people’s backs. Is this positive or negative? Why?

  • Why is it easier to say things we shouldn’t when we’re not talking face-to-face with a person?

Read: Proverbs 11:27, 26:17-27.

  • Do you have examples of people who are surrounded by positive or negative people on social media because of how they handle themselves online?

  • Why is eye contact important in discussions?

  • Since eye contact is important, how do you handle discussions or quarrels where eye contact is not an option?

  • How do you balance blocking toxic influences with not getting tunnel-vision on your social media and being able to make a difference?

  • Are we called to be civil in all conversations? Why or why not?

  • How can you be a positive influence on social media this week?

Prayer: Pray that you handle your conversations with others appropriately.

Posted on October 21, 2018 .

10.14.18 - Small Group Discussion

Social Media - Social Media Feed (ME!)

Main Point: Ask “How is this investment of time changing me?”

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • What was your first social media platform? How many are you currently active on?

  • How much time would you guess that you spend scrolling through various social media feeds?

Read: Proverbs 12:11, 23-27

  • What are some of the positive time investments that you make with social media? What are some of the negative investments?

  • How are the algorithms that select what we see both positive and negative?

  • Do you have a way of limiting yourself to time spent on social media?

  • Why do you think we don’t realize how much time we spend on social media?

  • Proverb 12:23 says fools broadcast their foolishness. Have you been caught in a “discussion” (argument, if we’re honest) that has broadcasted your foolishness?

  • Have you ever committed to avoiding all social media for a certain amount of time? Would you be willing to do so? Why or why not?

Prayer: Pray that you are conscious of how your time is being spent.

Posted on October 15, 2018 .

10.07.18 - Small Group Discussion

Social Media - Power at Arm’s Length

Main Point: Your mobile phone is the most powerful device you own.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • What are some of the powerful or dangerous things that you own? How do you handle them?

  • How do you feel about “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?”

  • What do you use social media for?

Read: Proverbs 18:1-9, 21

  • Share a time that words were used to encourage you and/or a time that words tore you down.

  • Is there someone whose words you always love to listen to, such as an author, a teacher, or an internet personality? Are their words a positive influence in your life?

  • Have you ever noticed a difference in your attitude or how you handle situations when you have surrounded yourself with positive words as opposed to toxic words?

  • Do you live in such a way that reflects the truth that words have the power of life and death? Why or why not?

  • How will you use social media (or your words) in a positive way this week?

Prayer: Pray for wisdom in how you use your words.

Posted on October 7, 2018 .

09.30.18 - Small Group Discussion

Esther - The Great Reversal

Main Point: God is the orchestrator of great reversals.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • What is your favorite underdog story?

  • Why do you think we love underdog stories?

Read: Esther 9:1-10:3

  • There are examples of God showing up in obvious ways, such as a burning bush, but that occurred to only a small percentage of people in the world. The majority of people live lives like those during Esther’s time. Is this a comfort to you? Why or why not?

  • Share a time when you were able to look back in your life and see God working even though you couldn’t see Him while you were going through it.

  • What do you do in, or how do you handle, the times when you’re waiting for God to show up?

  • The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of both now and not yet, meaning it is here, but not yet in its fullness. How does our life need to reflect that?

  • How can we show the Kingdom of grace and second chances to the people in our lives?

Prayer: Pray for peace when it doesn’t seem like God is present.

Posted on September 30, 2018 .

09.23.18 Small Group Discussion

Esther -The Great Reversal

Main Point: If God seems absent in your story, find courage in His story.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • When is a time you made the wrong choice, because you were thinking about yourself above others or God?

  • Why does integrity in the small things impact our ability to make the right choices in the big things?

  • What makes God seem absent in our lives?

Read: Esther 6:1-2, 8:15-17.

  • Where has God acted in the story of Esther?

  • Did Esther and Mordecai’s actions make a difference? Why or why not?

  • Why should we find courage in God’s story when we don’t feel him working in our story?

  • How do you handle the situations when it doesn’t seem like God is present or active?

  • How can remembering our place in God’s story help us make the right choice?

Prayer: Pray to have integrity in both the big and small choices of life.

Posted on September 22, 2018 .

09.16.18 - Small Group Discussion

Esther - When Darkness Threatens

Main Point: Your circumstances shape your identity, or your identity shapes how you handle your circumstances.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?

  • Share a time you went with the crowd or took the path of least resistance.

  • What do you consider to be your primary identity? Does your life reflect that answer?

Read: Esther 4:12-17, Matthew 10:32-33.

  • Why is the question, “Who am I?” such an important question?

  • How do you feel about Mordecai’s words that salvation for the Jews would come whether or not Esther did what she was supposed to? How does this fit with the idea that privilege and providence go hand in hand?

  • Do you have an example of someone choosing their identity in Christ at the cost of losing something, such as job or friends? If so, how does that encourage you?

  • Share a time when you’ve seen circumstances shape someone’s identity.

  • If you are baptized, what was it like to announce your identity is with Christ? If you are not baptized, what is preventing you from making that commitment?

  • What choices will you make this week because your identity is in Christ?

Prayer: Pray that you will remember your identity in Christ when faced with opposition and hard times.

Posted on September 17, 2018 .

09.09.18 - Small Group Discussion

Esther - From Orphan to Queen 

Main Point: Use your privilege like Jesus used his.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Do you think of yourself as privileged? Why or why not?
     
  • What keeps us from seeing our privilege?
     
  • Do you believe that privilege and providence go hand in hand? Why or why not?
     
  • What can be difficult about the mindset that privilege and providence go hand in hand?

Read: Esther 2:17, Philippians 2:3-8

  • Was Jesus privileged? How did Jesus use his privilege?
     
  • What is your first reaction to someone telling you that you’re privileged?
     
  • How are you privileged? What will you do with your privilege?
     
  • How can the passage in Philippians help us with how we interact with other people?
     
  • Does the Church use its privilege properly? Why or why not? How can the Church improve?

Prayer: Pray for the humility to that our privilege does not make us better, and courage to use our privilege like Jesus used his.

Posted on September 10, 2018 .

09.02.18 - Small Group Discussion

To Seek and Save / Empowered to Serve

Main Point: We are empowered by God to serve and to seek the Lost.

  • What’s one idea from the message that stood out to you? Why do you think it grabbed you?
     
  • Have you ever been lost? What was it like?
     
  • What would you do to find someone you love who is lost?

Read: Luke 19:6-10, Acts 1:8

  • What keeps us from going after the lost?
     
  • Why does fear get in the way?
     
  • Are our fears worth the consequences of not acting? Why or why not?
     
  • Do you feel empowered by the Holy Spirit? Why or why not?
     
  • Who do you have in your life that you can be showing Christ to? Who are you praying for right now?
     
  • Who can you invite to church on Sunday?

Prayer: Pray that you see the opportunities that God puts before you and that you have the courage to act when they come.

Posted on September 2, 2018 .