03.24.19 - Small Group Discussion

Not Your Average Joe - Usefulness Leads to Blessing

When you have a God-ordained reversal, it’s never about you.

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

  • What’s your favorite story’s reversal, where what you expected to happen is turned on its head? Why?

  • What are some of your favorite reversals in the Bible? Why?

Read: Genesis 42:6-7, 18-23, 36, 43:28-31, 34, 44:10, 45:3-5

  • When we are wronged, it can often be so easy to feel justified if we have the chance to have revenge or get even. What can learn from Joseph in how he handled his opportunity?

  • How do you feel about Jacob’s reaction in 42:36? Why do you think he responded the way he did?

  • Was it right for Joseph to test his brothers the way he did? Why or why not?

  • Have you experienced God orchestrating a reversal in your life? Please share, if you are comfortable.

  • If you are currently in the middle of a painful situation, what helps you as you wait for God’s timing?

  • Joseph went through the hardships that he did so that he could be used to save people. How has God used the hardships in your life to benefit others?

Prayer: Pray that you have patience waiting on God’s timing for a reversal in your life. Thank God for any reversals you have already experienced. Pray that you be open to whatever God intends to do through you as a result of that reversal.

Posted on March 25, 2019 .

03.17.19 - Small Group Discussion

Not Your Average Joe - Humbling Leads to Usefulness

God’s delays are not God’s denials. He’s getting you ready.

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

  • Have you been in a situation you dreaded where you felt like it would never end (a job, school, etc.)? What, if anything, helped?

  • In what areas do you make excuses for why you deserve to do something outside the rules (slacking at work, cheating a little, etc.)?

Read: Genesis 39:2-9, 39:20-23, 40:23, 41:14-16, 41:39-40, and 41:46

  • Do you think Joseph felt like God was with him? Why or why not?

  • What do you think is the significance of Joseph’s coat being snatched by Potiphar’s wife?

  • Do you think it was hard for Joseph to state that God was the one who could interpret the dreams, not him? Why or why not?

  • Have you ever been forgotten by someone you were counting on, like Joseph was forgotten by the cupbearer?

  • What makes you feel like God is with you in your life? What makes you feel like He’s not with you?

  • Have you ever gotten to see or learn why God’s answer was “not yet,” even though you previously thought the answer was “no?”

  • Why does the answer “not yet” feel like “no”?

  • How does changing your viewpoint about God delaying a situation instead of denying a situation change how you interact with where you are in the current moment?

Prayer: Pray for patience as God prepares things in your life.

Posted on March 17, 2019 .

03.10.19 - Small Group Discussion

Not Your Average Joe - Pride Leads to Humbling

When God wants to empower someone, He first humbles them.

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

  • Where do you fall in birth order? Do you feel like the stereotypes of your place fit who you are? Why or why not?

Read: Genesis 37:2-36

  • In what way did Jacob’s actions and attitudes towards his sons affect their actions?

  • Did Joseph do anything wrong in this story? Why or why not?

  • What do you imagine was Joseph’s reasoning for telling his family about the dreams?

  • Reuben tried to save his brother. Did Reuben do anything wrong? Why or why not?

  • Have you ever “sat down for a meal” while someone suffering injustice was screaming for help right beside you?

  • If you were ever the one screaming for help, did you receive help? Were there people there for you?

  • How do you react when you see or face injustice?

  • What do you do when you don’t have the answer for why you’re going through what you’re going through?

Prayer: Pray that you never forget God is there, even when bad things are happening.

Posted on March 10, 2019 .

03.03.19 - Small Group Discussion

Seek Study Serve - Serve

In Order to be like Jesus, You have to Serve like Jesus.

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

  • What do you think of when you hear words like serve, servant, service, etc.?

  • When was the last time you received great service? What made it great?

Read: Mark 10:35-45, 12:29-31, John 13:12-15.

  • Who do you know that exemplifies being a Godly servant? Why that person?

  • How does pride get in the way of serving? How can serving help resist pride?

  •  In what ways have you seen Christians be different than the world when it comes to handling positions of power?

  • What excuses do you make for not serving?

  • Why do we sometimes see other people as beneath us?

  • In the acronym B.L.E.S.S. (Begin with prayer, Listen, Eat with your neighbor, Serve your neighbor, and Share your story), where are you at with your neighbors?

  • Where are you currently serving in the church, or on behalf of the church? If you’re not serving, why not? If you are, why did the pick the area(s) that you are serving in?

Prayer: Pray to have the humility to serve as Jesus served.

Posted on March 4, 2019 .

02.24.19 - Small Group Discussions

Seek Study Serve - Study

The Purpose of Studying God’s Word is to become like the Author.

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

  • How was your relationship with studying in school?

  • Have you had to study anything in your adult life? How did you do it?

Read: Mark 12:28-31, 2 Timothy 2:2, 3:16-17.

  • What resources do you have to help you study God?

  • As you study God, do you struggle with learning about God, instead of learning to be like God? Why or why not?

  • Can you name people in your life that you would want to disciple you? Have you ever had someone disciple you?

  • Are you currently discipling anyone?

  • What gets in the way of someone discipling you or gets in the way of you discipling someone else?

  • What are the benefits to studying in a group?

  • Are there any changes you want your small group to make to study differently?

Prayer: Pray that you see the people in your life that you should be studying with, teaching, and being taught by.

Posted on February 24, 2019 .

02.17.19 - Small Group Discussion

Seek Study Serve - Seek

Bottom Line: You Become Like the People You Spend Time With.

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

  • Do you see the people in your life rubbing off on you, or changing who you are? How so?

  • Have you ever gone seeking for something? Ever devoted yourself to striving for a dream that you sought after with reckless abandon?

  • Does your passion for God match that same level of seeking? Why or why not?

Read: Mark 12:29-31, Matthew 14:23, Luke 4: 16, 6:12-13, Mark 1:35, Hebrews 10:25

  • Why do we let our busy schedules prevent us from spending time with God and with other believers?

  • What do you do to have one-on-time with God?

  • How do you spend time with other believers?

  • It is critical that we seek time with God and with other believers. Which one is harder for you? Why?

  • What will you do this week to take the next step to improve how you are seeking God, whether through one-on-one time with Him or through time with others?

Prayer: Pray that you stop making excuses and start making God a priority with your time.

Posted on February 19, 2019 .

02.10.19 - Small Group Discussion

Puzzling Out Evangelism

Main Point: Be a living monument to God’s story.

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

  • Are you a puzzle-type person? Why or why not?

  • What is a favorite monument of yours? Why?

  • How are the terms “laws” and “instructions” different?

  • Share a bad experience you had regarding evangelism. Share a good experience. Why were they different?

Read: Exodus 19:4-6, Deuteronomy 4:5-8, 1 Peter 2:4-9.

  • Why do we look at the Torah is an old, difficult to follow set of laws, instead of as instructions?

  • What comes to mind when you hear evangelism? What prevents us from evangelizing, or what makes it hard?

  • What does it mean to you to be part of a chosen people?

  • Have you ever known someone who you were drawn to? What drew you to that person (charisma, wisdom, etc.)?

  • How can we stand out among others? If you’re being nice, patient, etc., how/why is that different than any other nice or patient person who happens to not be a Christ-follower?

  • How can we be living monuments to God’s story?

  • As a way of practicing: Share your story.

Prayer: Pray to be bold in sharing God’s role in your life.

Posted on February 10, 2019 .

02.03.19 - Small Group Discussion

Core Training - Generosity

A generous person asks, “What will it take?”

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

  • Frank mentioned three questions that we sometimes ask about ministry: “What is required?” “What can we spare?” “What can we afford?” In what ways is “What will it take?” a better question?

Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

  • How was it possible for the Corinthians to be filled with joy despite experiencing poverty? What can we learn from them?

  • Where did the Corinthians’ joy come from?

  • Why is giving yourself to the Lord (vs. 5) so critical to developing generosity?

  • In what ways does our church excel? How can we also become known for being generous?

  • Discuss a way your small group can work together to cultivate a spirit of generosity, finding tangible ways to bless other people.

Prayer: Pray that God will loosen your grip on money and possessions so you are free to be as generous to others as God is to you.

Posted on February 4, 2019 .

01.27.19 - Small Group Discussion

Core Training - Others

The church is not the mission; the church is on a mission. 

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

  • The church sometimes struggles to balance discipling members and evangelizing the lost. How do you handle the tension in those two?

Read: Matthew 28:18-20

  • Frank said that a better translation of “go” in verse 18 is “as you are going.” Where are some of the places you’re going? How are you “preaching the gospel” in those places?

Read: Romans 10:13-17

  • The church is on a mission to tell others about Jesus. How can your small group be more engaged in telling others about what Jesus has done?

  • The church is on a mission to send out others to tell people about Jesus. Who is God sending you to with the message of what Jesus has done?

  • Not everyone will receive the news of Jesus. Not everyone will believe. Not everyone will be saved. How people will respond to the Gospel is not your responsibility. What is? How can you be more faithful to that responsibility?

Prayer: Pray for the people in your lives who are far from God: your family, your neighbors, classmates and coworkers.

Posted on January 27, 2019 .

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 .