Monday, July 30, 2012

Your Life According to Jesus [Revelation 2:12-17]

Sermon Discussion Questions
  • Can you think of a time that being told the truth was difficult or uncomfortable?  On this side of that experience, are you glad to have received the truth?  Why do you suppose that for God, receiving truth and our maturity are so interconnected?
  • Do you think of Satan as roaming about (Job 1), prowling around to devour who he may (1 Peter 5)?  In other words, do you think (as CS Lewis said) of where you live as "enemy occupied territory"?  How does or should knowing this truth change the way we engage this world?  Who or what is our fight against?
  • In this letter to Pergamum, he commends them on the one hand but also holds some things against them.  What does he hold against them?  What can it look like for you/us to fall into this trap?
  • While we may not know exactly what the "hidden manna" or "white stone" actually signifies, what hope do they appear to provide?  What does it mean to you to know that you are marked out, belonging to God?  How does this truth change the way we live in the here and now?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Strength in Suffering [Revelation 2:8-11]

Sermon Discussion Questions
  • Even though Jesus tells us in this passage, "Do not fear..." we all experience the oppressive nature of fear in our lives.  As you feel comfortable, share your present experiences of fear as a group.
  • Perhaps even sharing your fears brings comfort, particularly with those who can relate.  What does it mean that Christ actually "knows" our pain and suffering?  
  • How did you respond to the illustration that Ryan gave about the pastor who climbed up in bed with the sobbing father?  Did that make you uncomfortable?  If it did, why?  What does it mean to you that Christ actually climbs into our pain?
  • Is it hard to believe that God doesn't waste our suffering?  What makes this so difficult?  How have you seen God "steward" suffering and pain in your life?
  • How will Jesus "end" our suffering?  How does this affect the way that we live our daily lives now?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reality Check [Revelation 1:9-20]

Sermon Discussion Questions
  • When you think of Jesus, what picture has normally come to mind?  Do you feel like you underestimate who he really is?
  • What does it mean that Jesus is called the 'Son of Man'?  What does John say about his voice?  What's significant about the way that John describes his voice and other characteristics that he encounters?
  • All of us would understandably be afraid during such an encounter.  How is John comforted?  
  • Fear.  What does it mean to fear God?  Is there healthy fear?  Is there unhealthy fear?  What's the difference?
  • What sorts of responses do you think we should have or expect to have after such an encounter with this Jesus?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Unveiled Hope [Revelation 1:1-8]

Sermon Discussion Questions
  • Think of moments where you've experienced feelings of hopelessness.  Describe those feelings.  In those moments, did you ever have someone try and give you pat answers?  How did that make you feel?  What does it say about God that we don't get pat answers from him?
  • In this passage, where and how do we see our fear being addressed?
  • Do you struggle to move on from past failures?  What is it that prevents you from moving on?  For those of us who struggle with this, what aspect of this 'unveiled hope' do we need to hear?
  • What do we know with absolute certainty (verse 7)?  Name the ways you and I struggle to live in the reality of this absolute certainty.