Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sermon Discussion: Matthew 20:1-16 (Sept. 29, 2017)

Matthew 20:1-16
Sept. 29, 2017
"The Kingdom of Heaven is Bad Business"

1. Re-read Matthew 20:1-16. What details stand out to you?

2. Why do you think the vineyard owner makes five separate trips to the market to hire workers? What evidence from this story supports your answer?

3. Do you sympathize with the 12-hour workers' complaint in verse 12? Why?

4. What difference would it make to think of yourself as a 5:00 pm person, rather than a 6:00 am person? Why is this difficult to accomplish?

5. Ryan claimed that the Kingdom of heaven is only good news when we realize that it is bad business. What do you think he meant by that? Do you agree? 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sermon Discussion Questions (9/10/17): Matthew 13:31-33

Matthew 13:31-33
Too Small to Fail

1) Re-read the passage together (don't worry; it's short!). What details do you notice that perhaps you've never noticed before?

2) In his sermon, Ryan claimed that it's easy for us to reduce our sense of significance to our success, our popularity, or our social status. What is it in our culture that aids this "seductive reduction?" How do these parables combat these falsehoods?

3) Are there aspects of your life right now that make you feel particularly ordinary or small or hidden? (Maybe it's a challenging family relationship, a dull job, an aching body, or disappearing joy). How do Jesus' parables provide a different perspective this season of life?

4) Can you think of examples of God using something small to make an extraordinary difference in your own life, for the sake of the kingdom? (Perhaps someone's simple act of love or kindness, a parents' faithfulness, etc.)  Be specific. Share stories of God's sprouting kingdom.

5) What are specific ways God is calling you to ordinary faithfulness to Jesus? What challenges do you face in seeking to do so? Ask for prayer from the group for at least one of those challenges -- and then pray together before you close your time.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ezekiel 47:1-12: The River of Life

1. Reread the passage.

2. To understand the context, trace the visions regarding the Temple through the book of Ezekiel. What's happening in the temple early in the book? What significant thing happens in chapter 10? What happens in chapters 32-33? What surprising thing happens in chapter 43? Why is it surprising and what might it mean?

3. Describe the scene of chapter 47 in your own words, what's happening in the vision?

4. How might this vision of abundant life humiliate the exiles? How might this vision excite the exiles? Might we feel the same way at times?

5. What does this vision point back to and point forward to? Can you explain this using the "Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration" framework?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ezekiel 37:1-14: True Life

1. Reread the passage.

2. Restate the story in your own words paying close attention to the setting, the descriptive words (auditory and visual words), as well as the genre. In what state does Ezekiel find the bones?

3. How does the historical context speak directly to this miraculous story?

4. What restores the dry bones and what gives the renewed bodies life? (see also Gen. 1:3; Isa. 55:10-11; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Heb. 4:12-13)

5. Does the Word of God still have this kind of power? If so, what examples might you give? Were there dry places in your life that were renewed by the Word of God? Are there dry place in your life now that need to be brought back to life?

6. How can you breath in the life giving power of the Word of God more today than you did yesterday?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ezekiel 34: True Shepherds

1. Reread Ezekiel 34

2. What characterizes the bad shepherds in verses 1-10? How is Ezekiel condemning them?

3. What does self-centered leadership lead to? What are its effects and ramifications?

4. How is David coming back to serve the people? Connect some dots in the scripture between this good shepherd promise Jesus.

5. In what ways do you know Jesus as a good shepherd?

6. What are some new ways you can reflect the shepherding heart of Christ in specific actions?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ezekiel 27: True Sadness

1. Reread Ezekiel 27

2. Identify the context: how would you summarize the theme of chapters 1-32? What shifts in chapter 25 and continues to chapter 32?

3. How does Ezekiel deal with Tyre in chapter 26? Why does he deal with them in this way (Hint: 26:2)?

4. Why would Ezekiel waste his breath pronouncing a lamentation over Tyre when chapter 26 condemns them and chapter 28 judges them?

5. What is Ezekiel fascinated by in Tyre, seen in verses 1-25? What fascinates you about our world today?

6. Why does Tyre go down like a ship (verses 26-36)? Is this a tragedy for more than just the city of Tyre? Is it a tragedy for Ezekiel or for God?

7. Does sin make you weep? Are you seeing the tragic scenes around you or in you, or are you avoiding them? How can you break down the walls around you to really listen and see the tragic scenes of your friends, family, and neighbors?  

8. How has Christ grieved over the tragedy of sin and what has he done about it?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ezekiel 13: You're hearing voices

1. Reread Ezekiel 13

2. Explore the context of this passage: Why is God doing different signs and acts in chapter 12? What message does chapter 12 conclude with (v. 28)?

3. In chapter 13, what are the destructive/false voices saying? How are they harming the people of God (hint: three things)?

4. What false voices have harmed you? What false voices have you used or shared to harm others?

5. What is the true voice? How does the passage characterize the voice of truth (hint: two things)? Give verses and be specific.

6. Share specific stories of times where you clutched the voice of truth, which is found only in Jesus.