Monday, December 16, 2013

12/15: "The Royal Branch" (Isaiah 11:1-11)

1.  At the time Isaiah was written, the Israelites were experiencing a time of great despair. Yet, the Prophet Isaiah gives the Israelites hope by them that a promised redeemer is coming. As those who now live "between two Advents" how do we live patiently waiting for Christ's second coming? What things make you impatient?

2.  Isaiah 11:1-11 tells God's people of a coming "destination" that will be purged of all fear, danger, and evil. A place where believers from all nations will be gathered together. What things in your own life cause you to long for this promised “destination”? 

3.  How does Jesus’ birth act as a “signal” for God's people (v. 10)? 

4.  How are we to live in light of the promises that we see in this passage? How do these promises change your thoughts and affections?

5.  We know that Christ not only came to reconcile us to God, but also to restore all things. How do we display this restoration in our vocations and daily lives? How do our actions model God’s reconciliation to the world?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12/8: "Jesus' Christmas List" (Isaiah 9:1-7)

1.  Christ came not only to forgive us of our sins, but also to deliver us from oppression and bring us freedom. Yet, as Ryan asks us, "Do we really believe that? Are we living that way right now?" How has Jesus freed you from the power, guilt, and shame of your sins?

2.  What things prevent you from realizing and laying hold of this truth?

3.  How are we assured that a day is coming when all suffering will end? How does this knowledge comfort you in your current struggles?

4.  In times of pain, suffering, and grief who or what do you find yourself turning to the most? In times of difficulty, in what things does the world tell you to place your hopes in?

5.  Over the years, how have you typically viewed Christmas? How has Isaiah 9:1-7 shaped your understanding of Christ's birth and its significance?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12/1: "God With Us" (Isaiah 7:10-17)

1.  God has promised to be with us and to help us in our time of need. Do you find yourself placing your trust in Christ in times of distress and want, or is it easier to trust in what we can see? Are there any idols in your life give you affirmation? What are they?

2.   According to this passage, what was Ahaz's primary weakness? What is the sign that God promises to show Ahaz? Taking Ahaz's character into consideration, why does God's promise give us hope?

3.  Why is the promise of "Immanuel" significant for the Israelites? For us?

4.  According to Ryan, what does this "miraculous rescue" say about our own human weakness?

5.  Are there times when you wish God would grant you a sign? How does Christ satisfy this longing?

Monday, November 18, 2013

11/17: "The Gift of One Another" (Philippians 2:1-4)

1. What are the gifts that we receive from our "participation in the Spirit?" How does our participation with one another also share these gifts and encouragement?

2. According to v. 3, how are we to think about others? How do we foster this mindset?

3. Paul says, "in humility count others more significant than yourselves." What does this look like? How do we meet our own needs and desires while also trying to meet the needs of others?

4. According to Penny, what is the "paradox of sacrifice?" How is Jesus' sacrifice a paradox? How does Christ's sacrifice compel us to serve one another and instill in us a mindset that is willing to sacrifice for one another?

Monday, November 11, 2013

11/10: "Gospel Civics 101" (Philippians 1:27-30)

1.  What message is at the heart of Paul's teaching in Philippians? Why is it so vital that we remember our identity in Christ?

2.  How have we become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven? How should our status as citizens of Heaven motivate us and drive our behavior?

3.  What are two ways that we can know that we are living as citizens of God's Kingdom? What obstacles frequently stand in the way of thinking of ourselves as united with one another?

4.  What is the common goal of all believers? How do we "striv[e] side by side for the faith of the gospel"?

5.  Are there things that have previously, or currently, distracted you or prevented you from seeing this union with other believers who were different in some way? How have the Gospel and the Church transformed you and helped you to overcome these distractions? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

10/20: "Friends" (Philippians 1:3-11)

1.  Why has God made community such an essential component in our daily lives? How have you benefitted from the fellowship of others in your life recently?

2.  Thinking about your own relationships, what obstacles frequently seem to get in the way of showing unconditional love towards others?

3.  How does Paul remind us that our friendships a gift from God? In what ways does Paul model for us the response that we should have towards others in our lives?

4.  How do the friendships of those who follow after Christ differ from worldly friendships? Looking at v. 9, how are our knowledge and love linked together?

5.  How does the Gospel help repair our broken friendships and relationships with one another? According to Phil. 1:3-11, what are some characteristics of Christian love?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

True Love Waits...for what? (Phil. 3:17-4:1, Sexuality Part 4)

1) There are a number of examples in the Bible where God's people are forced to wait for something.  Name a few.
2) What are some times in your life where you've found waiting particularly difficult?
3) Can you name some things you are waiting for in life right now?
4) According to Paul, what exactly are we waiting for?  Do you find this encouraging or not?
5) How can we help each other as we wait together?
6) It has been said that "Christians are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good."  Is this true?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10/13: "How is the Church Going?" (Philippians 1:1-2)

1.  When we think about a successful church, what comes to our minds? How do we define a successful ministry?

2.  In what ways can we demonstrate our commitment to and appreciation for God's grace in the church? 

3.  Ryan states that the Gospel transforms the way we think about power. In what ways have you seen this transformation playing out in your own life? 

4.  How does the Gospel transform the way we think about leadership? How does this compare with examples that we see in the world? In what ways are our own views on leadership not in step with the example Christ provides us?

5.  Ryan references Mike Higgins' illustration of being issued a bigger towel with each promotion he received in the military? Is this how you would describe your own views on leadership? What aspects of your views on leadership could use some work?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Love that Made God Run

1) Read Luke 15:11-32. Ryan mentioned the discussion about the traditional title ("The Prodigal Son") and other suggestions ("The Parable of the two lost sons," etc.).  What new insights would a change of title offer you personally? 

2) Can you relate to the younger son's plan to return to his home and work off his debt?  How do we adopt similar strategies in our relationship with the Lord, particularly in our approach to God after we have sinned?

3) What keeps us from experiencing the full embrace of the God-who-runs-to us? Is it our pride? Our fear? Our shame? 

4) How is your view of God challenged by Jesus' depiction of the father in this story?  (Remember the various ways the father's actions are counter-cultural)

5) Tim Keller asserts that the elder brother is just as lost as the younger brother.  How is that true?  Can you relate to his lostness?  

6) How does thinking of this story in terms of a sexual sinner (the reckless younger brother) increase your appreciation for God's amazing grace? 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bring Me a Higher Love

Read Ephesians 5:1-14 together or individually, then discuss the following questions:

1) This passage indicates that God has a high opinion of us -- not because our lives merit such an opinion but because Jesus claims us as His own, bearing our sin and granting us His righteousness. Locate the various ways God expresses His opinion of us in this passage (for example, v. 1: we are God's "beloved children") and discuss how seeing ourselves in these ways encourages our personal holiness.  

2) In verse 5, Paul has strong words for the "sexually immoral."  Who is he talking about?  As Christians, how should we receive these words?  As a warning, an exhortation, or something else? 

3) What are some practical applications of God's high standard for our speech to be free of "filthiness" and "crude joking" (v. 4)?  Where do you find this sort of conversation -- at work? in your family? in movies? And how can we avoid participating in this sort of talk? 

4) What does Paul mean when he commands us to "walk as children of light" (v. 8)?  How do you need to accept this challenge and live differently than you are right now? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Creation and Sex

1) One of the goals of this series -- both in what is said and how it is said -- is to communicate our need for other people in our God-glorifying efforts to live with integrity in our sexual lives.  As Dr. Winter said in Sunday School, "Isolation is the greatest enemy of healthy sexuality."  Why do you think honest relationships are so critical to dealing with these issues in particular?  Do you have people in your life who you can be completely honest with and vice versa?

2) What has your experience been in the church regarding the topic of sex?  Has it been addressed well or poorly?  Share those experiences.  If you could change the way the church talks about sex, what would you change?

3) Take 5 minutes to read Proverbs 5 individually.  What are your impressions of this fatherly advice to a son?  How is this wisdom applicable today -- to us? to our kids? to our church? 

4) How often, in your average day, do you and/or your family encounter messages about sex in popular media and advertisements?  Do these stand out to you or does it seem like background noise?

5) What do you think constitutes a healthy and balanced view of sex?  In what ways do we look to sex to give us what only Christ gives us?

6) How does God intend sex to establish and secure a marriage?  How does this ideal strike you (i.e. real, foreign, exciting, scary)?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Leisure Class

  1. Have you ever thought of your leisure time, not so much in terms of what you’re going to do with it, but rather, what it’s going to do to you?  How does answering the latter question change how we look at our free time?  How ought it change how we look at it?
  2. Psalm 103:5 tells us that God “satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”  Do you struggle to believe this?  How would believing this change your outlook on the use of free time?
  3. What did you think of Ryan’s illustration about how the Guinness Family ran their business?  If we don’t work for businesses like these (which I imagine most of us don’t), what ways can we practically seek to prioritize rest?  What ways did Ryan suggest from scripture?
  4. Do you give yourself permission to enjoy God’s good gifts?  If not, why?  Also, seek to discuss this question in light of the following quote: “People used to play tennis; now they work on their backhand.”
  5. What’s one thing you can seek to implement in the next week or two that you could seek to enjoy during your leisure time?  What good gift of God would you like to find pleasure in, thereby giving God glory and finding rest in Him?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8/18: "God Snobs" (Jonah 3)

1.  Are their areas of your life that might be considered "snobbish?" What are these areas?

2.  How can we be snobs when it comes to God?

3.  How does your relationship with Christ and Scripture put these attitudes into perspective?

4.  Is God calling you to reach out to others or to take a certain action but you feel hesitant to do so? Why? What does Jonah 3 teach us about obedience to God?

5.  How does the message of Jonah 3 remind us of God's graciousness towards us? 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

7/28: "Fondness for the Foyer: Reflections on the Exiled Life" (1 Peter 2:11-12)

1. In what ways do you see yourselves as exiles in this world? In light of this, how should we then live?

2. What desires wage war against your thoughts and affections?

3. What motivation does Peter give to abstain from over-reaching desires?

4. How are we called to be ambassadors for Christ here on earth? How can we do this on a daily basis?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

7/14: "Hope When It Hurts" (Daniel 11:1-12:4)

1. Has there ever been a time in your life when you experienced spiritual warfare? How did your faith in Christ prepare or comfort you during this time?

2.  Ryan states that these visions were meant to encourage Daniel, the generations to come, and to us as well. How does Daniel's vision encourage you?

3.  How have trials transformed your faith?

4.  If we will all be judged by God according to our works, how can you be sure that God will grant you eternal life in heaven and not to eternal punishment?

5.  Are there things in your life that you are placing your hope in other than Christ? From this passage, how are you encouraged to place your faith in Christ alone? 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Apocalypse Now? [Daniel 7]

Why did Ryan say it's good to have an Apocalypse?

Is there any practical application of Daniel 7 to us today beyond interesting historical facts?

Why is the tension Daniel experienced with the rise and fall of these coming empires?

Do we experience anxiety or worry today about the rise and fall of our nation?

What was the hope of Daniel that Ryan encouraged us with?

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Resisting Conformity [Daniel 6:1-28]

How did Daniel stay steadfast in the midst of pressure to conform?

What was particularly different about Daniel's method of protest? 

What pressures surround us in our culture to conform?

In what way was King Darius helpless to help Daniel?

Where is the line between obedience to government authority and service to the Lord?

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

God will Defend Himself [Daniel 5]

We have been made to be creatures, living under God's grace. In what ways does our culture tempt us to live otherwise?

Was there opportunity for the king mentioned in Daniel 5 to repent or avoid the judgement? 

Is there difficulty that arises in life when we begin to try to create for ourselves our own meaning for life?

What is the good news that actually answers the difficult questions of life?

What would be the warning and the hope you could share with someone else from the story in Daniel 5?

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Grace of Humility [Daniel 4:1-37]

Why is God so committed to crushing human pride?

How does God use real life circumstances to humble us?

Once our pride is destroyed what is God committed to restoring?

Is it a problem that God is egocentric? 

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Enjoy It While It Lasts [Daniel 2:24-49]

Sermon Discussion Questions

God makes sure that his team ultimately wins. How is this dangerous information to believers? 

What does the dream of Nebuchadnezzar reveal about God?

How does God accomplish what is told in the dream?

How did Daniel use the information God gave about his ultimate victory? 

What should we do with the knowledge that God wins? 

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mission Impossible [Daniel 2:1-23]

Sermon Discussion Questions

How would you describe the impossible situation which Daniel is put in?

What example did Penny give of someone who used their influence to bring blessing to others? What are some ways you can use influence to bring blessing to others? 

Where are you able to use your influence and leverage blessing for others? 

In what way were the Chaldeans right about concerning the dreams?

In what way were the Chaldeans wrong about concerning the dreams? 

Explain what we share as a common confidence with Daniel in the midst of a hostile culture?

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Daniel 1:1-21

Sermon Discussion Questions

What did Ryan say was different between our culture and Daniel's culture in exile?

How did Daniel work within the culture of Babylon, and how did he set himself apart?

Ryan mentioned the names given to Daniel and his friends (1:7). What is significant about the names given, and the names mentioned throughout the rest of the chapter?

Ryan showed two different jerseys, one home and one away jersey. For many years American Christians have lived wearing the home jersey. What does it mean for each of us to now wear the away jersey?

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, April 15, 2013

It All Comes Down to This (Luke 24:36-49)

Sermon Discussion Questions

What is the "macro" or "meta" or "big" drama that Ryan spoke of? 

Do you think that we are made for drama? 

What difference does it make in your daily life if Jesus is living, breathing, and bodily alive today or dead?

What is the hope that believers have at funerals, when death confronts our daily living? 

Ryan said we are the "good news people" and that we should act like it, what do you think that means for you?

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Resurrection Lessons [Luke 24:13-35]

Sermon Discussion Questions

How is this story shocking or unusual?

Why did Jesus ask the questions he did? Did he not remember what had just happened on Friday and Sunday?

What did it take for the two friends walking along to recognize Jesus?

What have been some of your favorite times in a bible study? How does learning about Jesus bring you closer in your relationship to Jesus? 

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Any Given Sunday [Luke 24:1-12]

Sermon Discussion Questions

What are the possible explanations of the absence of Jesus body?

Why was it of special significance that the women were some of the first witnesses to Jesus empty tomb? 

What did the resurrection mean for Peter as he ran to the tomb?

Ryan asked two questions about Luke 24, "How can we know these things are true" and "Why should we care". How would you, in your own words, respond to these two questions? 

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The King's Trial [Luke 22:63-23:5]

Sermon Discussion Questions

The gospel writer Luke gives us many details in the trial of Jesus, why? 

Why were there two different trials that Jesus went through? 

How does the trial of Jesus show how valuable we are to him?

What was the irony in the mockery of "king" Jesus?

Which did Ryan say we should long for more? Justice or Mercy? Why? 

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

God So Loved He Gave [John 3:16]

Sermon Discussion Questions

What did Dr. Kapic say is the problem?

Should we love the World? How is this a Yes and No question?

What is the gift Dr. Kapic talked about?

How do we sometimes see the Father as having a different agenda then Jesus?

What's the challenge Dr Kapic issued?

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The King's Betrayal [Luke 22:31-34, 47-62]

The King's Betrayal [Luke 22:31-34, 47-62]

How was Peter an example of a fighter? 

How was Peter an example of a failure? 

Ryan said that at times, we all feel like either fighters, or failures. Where do you most find yourself a fighter? Where do you most find yourself a failure?

Jesus has called you to be a follower. What did being a follower look like for Peter? 

What makes is different since Jesus has called you a follower instead of a failure or fighter? 

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The King's Prayer (Luke 22:39-46)

The King's Prayer (Luke 22:39-46)

Sermon Discussion Questions

What is so hard about admitting weakness?

How did Jesus face death in a similar way to other people?

How did Jesus face death in a dissimilar way to other people?

What are 2 possible understandings for Jesus sweating blood?

What tension was Jesus presented with as he prayed “your will be done”?

Have you ever felt liberated in weakness? how? Why?

Didn't get a change to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The King's Table Luke 22:1-30

The King's Table Luke 22:1-30

Sermon Discussion Questions

What is some of your favorite food?

How can preparing a meal for someone show them love?

Ryan said we may be uncomfortable with the intimate presence of Jesus, what do you think makes us uncomfortable when King Jesus desires to dine with us?

What promise comes with the meal Jesus serves?

Didn't hear the sermon? Click hear to listen!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kingdom Ambassadors [Luke 10:1-20]

Sermon Discussion Questions

Kingdom Ambassadors [Luke 10:1-20]

Jesus wants us to get up and go about life with the intention of bringing the good news of him to others. Ryan said "The very nature of the gospel is that it is to be shared". How did Jesus talk about sharing the gospel in this passage?

What is the story Jesus tells in 10:2-3? What is the narrative and meaning for us that Ryan talked about? 

What is the strategy King Jesus has laid out for us? 

What is actually at stake when it comes to God's people sharing the gospel with others?

How does Jesus present himself as motivation for sharing the gospel?

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You're A Follower [Luke 9:46-62]

Sermon Discussion Questions

You're A Follower [Luke 9:46-62]

In our culture we love to talk about leadership. Penny found thousands of books on leadership, but only a few on following. Why the disparity? 

What are some ways that we compare and evaluate one another? What are some of the ways we evaluate who is the greatest today?

What was Jesus response to the argument going on between the disciples?

How do we sometimes get caught up in affiliation like the disciples?

Following after Jesus comes at a great cost. For some of us following Christ has already been of great cost, and for some of us following Christ will mean in the future a great cost. Why would you follow someone who tells you to give up everything and follow him?

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Glory and the Dream [Luke 9:28-45]

The Glory and the Dream [Luke 9:28-45]

What are some of the ways we sedate ourselves to the glory of God around us?

How are we groggy, sleepy, and tempted to set up camp?

What is Jesus response to Peter's idea to setting up camp?

What is Jesus response to the doubt surrounding him in 9:37-44?

 In 9:44 Jesus points his disciples, who were doubting, to the cross. In moments of doubt, why is it hard to find solace in the cross? What is the power of Jesus death on the cross in moments of doubt? 

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Following the King [Luke 9:18-27]

Following the King [Luke 9:18-27]

Sermon Discussion Questions

Public confessions from the famous prompt big life questions, can we ask these questions of ourselves? Is what you are pursuing is it worth it?

There is only one thing worth pursuing with our lives, it isn't the perfect family, success, score, job, relationship, only following Jesus is worth all the sacrifice. What did Ryan say Jesus offers to us that is worth pursuing?

Jesus asks us to define our relationship with him. Jesus asks the question, "eyeball to eyeball" who do you say that I am?

Jesus has promised life in freedom, freedom from what and freedom for what?

Ryan told a story of a man who could own all the land he could cover in a day, how did the story end and how did Ryan connect this story with what Jesus says?

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kingdom Ambassadors [Luke 9:1-17]

Kingdom Ambassadors [Luke 9:1-17]
Sermon Discussion Questions

Many of the fairy tales we know of have been sanitized from their original gory detail. In what ways do we sanitize the world and the brokenness of the people in it? 

Ryan said that Jesus gave us an announcement to make, not advice to give. What a challenge! How have you witnessed both an announcement being made, and advice being given? What is the difference between the two?

We all know the 'Christianise' talk about who we rely on in life. Christian talk is easy in the midst of comfort. 
But what is it that brings us joy, comfort, and hope in the toughest of times? 

"Actions speak louder than words, but actions and words speak loudest together" Jesus told the crowds the gospel, and then showed the gospel by feeding the crowds. Jesus heals, casts out demons, he is whetting our appetite for the kingdom that is coming. We are included in delivering this preview to the world around us. Does this feel like one more thing to add to our calendar? How did Ryan challenge us to think about our participation in sharing Jesus message?

How can we change the way we think about our participation in Jesus message?

Didn't get a chance to listen to the sermon? Click here to listen!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Searching for Jesus [Luke 2:41-53]

Search for Jesus [Luke 2:41-53]
Sermon Discussion Questions

Mary and Joesph passionately pursued Jesus like any parent would. What are some of the temptations that get in the way of our own pursuit of Jesus?

Does Jesus bring out a passionate search in you? Have you stopped passionately pursuing Jesus?

What was special about the way how Jesus learned in the temple? What was different about it than perhaps our own way of learning spiritual things? Luke 2:46-47

Our lives are filled with things that Jesus does as Lord of our lives that causes us to question him like Mary in Luke 2:48. Ryan named two ways how Jesus response comforts Mary and us, what are they?  

Didn't get a chance to hear the sermon? Click here to listen!