Monday, February 20, 2017

Ezekiel 6-10: Idolatry and the Broken Heart of God

Re-read chapters 6-10

1) Where are the visible (chapter 6) and invisible (chapter 8) idols in Israel?

2) From the passage, how does God approach the idolatry of Israel? Does he approach our idolatry in the same way?

3) Where have we fashioned substitutes for the God who loves us?

4) Why must the glory of the LORD leave the temple (chapter 10)?

5) What are a few of the replacements God is leading us towards? How have you experienced these?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ezekiel 4&5: Judgment

1) Like Ezekiel's exilic audience, we all tend to dismiss, or at least diminish, God's warnings about His righteous anger and judgment of sin. Do you agree? Why or why not?

2) Why do you think God would ask Ezekiel to communicate without the benefit of words? How do his theatrics amplify God's message?

3) If each act of Ezekiel's living parable begin with God's command to 'take', identify the three acts and explain what event each one represents.

4) In 5:5, God charges His people with not only moral failure but missional failure. What about 5:5 suggests they have failed in their mission to the world? Are there ways the Church today fails in similar ways?

5) Given the dire pronouncement in 5:8, what hope did God's people have that they might be spared from judgment? How can we be confident that we have been rescued from judgment? If we have been so rescued, how should we live accordingly? Be specific. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ezekiel 2:1–3:15: We are creatures first

Reread Ezekiel 2:1–3:15 and, if you are able, listen to the sermon again on the church website.

Describe the context of this vision as you move from chapter 1 into this passage. Who is the one calling the shots?

What are some of the ways the passage portrays Ezekiel as a character in the story of God?

What are some of the character traits we all share with Ezekiel? What are some character traits we do not share?

Whose message does Ezekiel carry and to whom does he carry it? How and where does the passage describe this?

How do we carry the message in the same way as Ezekiel? In what ways do we carry the message differently?

To whom do we carry the message of the gospel today?  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ezekiel 1: Glory!

1. Ryan explained that the meaning of the vision is to show the LORD riding His royal chariot. What components of that scene do we find in this vision? Which ones were most compelling to you?

2. What is the message of this vision; in other words, what was God communicating to His people through it? Why was this an important message for them to grasp, given their circumstances?

3. How did Ezekiel respond to the vision? Why do you think he responded that way? Does his response teach us anything about our own?

4. In what ways does this vision encourage you?

5. In what ways does it challenge your view of God?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Deliverance Songs: Exodus 15:1-21

Re-read Exodus 15:1-21.

1) Compare Exodus 15:1-21 with Revelation 15:1-4. What similarities and differences do you observe?

2) What images in Exodus 15 stand out to you? What do those images communicate about God's character (His power, His faithfulness, etc.)? How do they encourage you? How do they inform your view of Jesus' powerful deliverance of us from our sin?

3) Are there circumstances in your life that make you feel defeated, despite Jesus' decisive victory over sin, Satan, and hell?

4) What are some of your favorite Christmas carols? Can you detect the theme of 'deliverance' in the lyrics?

5) Respond to this quote by Augustine: "Let us pine for the City where we are citizens. By pining, we are already there; we have already cast our hope, like an anchor, on that coast. I sing of somewhere else, not of here: for I sing with my heart, not my flesh." Does this sound like a Christmas exhortation to you? Why or why not? 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Gospel According to Titus

1) Take a moment to read Paul's letter to Titus. It will take you less than 10 minutes. Look and listen for key words, phrases, concepts that are repeated.

2) What key words, phrases, or concepts did you see that were repeated over and over?  

3) In Titus 3:3 Paul characterizes what we are like outside of Christ. One phrase he uses is "slaves to various passions and pleasures". What sorts of passions and pleasures enslave people today?

4) Paul writes in Titus 3:4 that God saved us "when the goodness and lovingkindness of God appeared". When did the goodness and lovingkindness of God appear?

5) Scripture tells us here (3:5) that God saved us not because of works, but according to his own mercy. Is this offensive to you, comforting to you or does it arouse something else in you? Why or Why not?

6) God saved us when we were enslaved, and he saved us, not according to what we could bring to the table, but according to the depth of his own mercy. How are we then to live in light of that (3:8)?

7) When we devote ourselves to good works are we earning favor from God? What is the result of devoting ourselves to good works (3:8)?

8) See Titus 2:14, 3:1, 3:14. What do these passages say about good works?

9) Followers of Jesus are often viewed by many as hypocritical, contentious, and oppressive. This may be not be the whole story, and it may not be fair. How can Paul's words, especially in Titus 3:1-8, help us address our neighbors perceptions of us?

10) When devoting ourselves to good works, are there any dangers or temptations we need to be on the lookout for? Where can we find help in this letter against those temptations?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Gospel According to Philemon

1) Read the letter to Philemon. Yes, the whole thing! 

2) What does Paul ask Philemon to consider regarding Onesimus? How does he do this? 

3) In what ways is Paul asking Philemon to be a credible witness?

4) In what ways is Paul asking Philemon to be a consistent witness? 

5) How is Paul instructing Philemon to be a compelling witness? 

6) How might Paul’s direction to Philemon appear counter-cultural

7) Drawing from Paul’s directions to Philemon, are there areas of your witness that need sharpening? Share some with your group.