Monday, December 22, 2014

"Joy to the Weary" - Genesis 11:10-12:3 (December 21, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. Where do we see weariness in this passage?
3. What makes you feel weary? What is wearying about the world?
4. How is weariness dealt with in this passage?
5. What brings you joy? Think about your day to day life, your actions, your words, etc. and consider what they say about where you're looking to find joy.
6. Where does this passage tell us ultimate joy is found?
7. How can we seek this joy on a daily basis?

Sermon Outline:
MP 1: Walk with the weary
   A: The childless
   B: The fatherless
   C: The homeless
   D: The Godless
MP 2: Welcome Joy
   A: God supplies joy
   B: God multiplies joy
   C: God spreads joy

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Christ Came to Save Builders" - Genesis 10:1-11:9 (December 14, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. What are some of the ways that we build walls between others? Think culturally, relationally, etc.
3. Read Ephesians 2:11-22. How does Paul speak of Jesus' work regarding the dividing walls between Jew and Gentile?
4. How can we cultivate a community, personally and corporately, that reflects this breaking down?
5. How were God's people seeking to promote and protect themselves in this passage (Genesis 10-11)?
6. What are the ways that we promote and protect?
7. How does Jesus do both these things for us?

Sermon Outline:
1. Building Walls
   a. Between our neighbors
   b. Between our enemies
2. Building Towers
   a. To promote ourselves
   b. To protect ourselves

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Christ Came to Save Failures" - Genesis 9:18-29 (December 7, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage
2. How do we see things falling apart in Noah's life?
3. Where do we see in our lives things falling apart?
4. In the passage, we see Noah abusing God's gifts and then abdicating his responsibility, what are the gifts God has given that we're prone to abuse? Are there places where you're abdicating your responsibility? Why?
5. What is the significance of what Ham did?
6. Why do we take pleasure in the shame of others?
7. How does God deal with our shame and our curse?

Sermon Outline:
1. Jesus covers our shame
   a. Abuse of God-given resources
   b. Abdication of God-given responsibilities
2. Jesus carries our curse
   a. Neglect
   b. Disrespect

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"What Now?" - Genesis 8:20-9:17 (November 30, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.

2. The very first verse of this passage indicate God’s loving response to Noah’s sacrifice.  What does this tell you about God’s character and his disposition toward you?

3. God established a vision before Noah of a world re-cultivated with life.  In what ways do you see this vision continuing to take shape?  What are elements in our world that give us reason to doubt this is even possible?

4. Where are some places in the passage we see evidence of God’s heart toward man?  Does this encourage you?  If not, why not?

5. How does the hope of Christ secure the vision of the world established in this passage?

6. What are some things we can do to participate in God’s desire to establish a world full of life and divine relationship?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"God Remembers You" - Genesis 7:11-8:19 (November 23, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. Think about a situation where you were forgotten. How did you feel? What was at stake for Noah if he was forgotten?
3. Noah could have easily been experiencing concern that there was no end in sight, how does the passage assure us that thought Noah, and we, don't know the our days, God does?
4. How does God show that he is in complete control in this passage? What is a circumstance in your life where you need to remember that God is in complete control?
5. What is God rescuing Noah from?
6. How can we have confidence that God remembers us?

Sermon outline:
1. When there is no end in sight
2. When there is no control
3. When there is no direction

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Living at the End of the World" - Genesis 6:9-7:10 (November 9, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. Ryan began by talking about the importance of remembering who we are and how we live. What are the dangers of focussing only on one and not both?
3. How is it that Noah stood out as being different from the world around him?
4. What are some ways that we can live counter culturally in our world?
5. Where in the passage do we see Noah's faith on display?
6. Where are the places in our lives that we are questioning what God has called us to? How can we grow in our faith and trust in him?

Sermon Outline
1. Countercultural Lives
   a. Righteous
   b. Blameless
2. Counterintuitive Faith
   a. To build the ark
   b. To board the ark

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Ready or Not?" Genesis 5:1-6:8 (November 2, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. In chapter 5, we read of lineages of God's people. What is the experience that we share with each of the people listed?
3. Why do we and our world shy away from talking about the reality of death?
4. Ryan mentioned some of the different things that we put our security in, what are the areas of your life that you find yourself putting security in that are not the Lord?
5. How does this passage show us that God is the source of our true security?
6. Where do we see God relenting in this passage?
7. Discuss ways that you can seek to grow in seeing and trusting God as your true security.

Outline from the sermon:
1. Living with a false sense of security
   A. Our Longevity
   B. Our Legacy
   C. Our Morality
2. Living with a true sense of Security
   A. The Lord who resolves
   B. The Lord who relents

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Life Goes On" - Genesis 4:17-26 (October 26, 2014)

  1. Have someone read the passage.
  2. What are the things that we experience that make it difficult for us to "carry on?"
  3. How would you define common grace?
  4. In this passage where do we see God's common grace / generosity on display?
    1. Where do we see common grace at work in our different spheres (i.e. work, school, etc)?
  5. Why is it important for us to acknowledge the grief that we experience?
  6. From the sermon we heard that sin is an act of replacing what God has given for a lesser alternative, in your life what are the things that you're replacing?
  7. How does worship help us to carry on?

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Life Outside the Garden: Resistence" - Genesis 4:1-16 (October 19, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. Where in the passage do we see sin seeking to deceive?
3. What are the lies that you are prone to believe?
4. Sin controlled Cain and through his jealousy murdered Abel, how can we resist sin's control?
5. God warns Cain about the severity of sin, how and when have you experienced warning about looming sin?
6. Why is the doctrine of God's judgment offensive to our world?
7. Why is it important that God is honest when he says that he will judge sin?
8. Where can we look to find hope in the midst of God's judgment?

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Living East of Eden" - Genesis 3:16-24 (October 12, 2014)

1. Have someone in the group read the passage.
2. What are some of the ways we see the ruin of the fall lived out in our world?
3. How does being honest about the ruin that we've contributed to, help us to have compassion with others?
4. Where is faith evident in this passage?
5. Ryan said, "Faith is the holding on to that God will deliver on his word." Where are places in your life that you're struggling to have faith like this?
6. Where, in this passage, do we see the hope for renewal?
7. How does this hope help us in the midst of the ruin?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Where Are You?" - Genesis 3:1-15 (October 5, 2014)

1. Have a member of the group read the passage.
2. What are the lies that the serpent tells Eve?
3. As we look out at the world, as we go about our days, what are the lies that we are told and the lies that we believe?
4. Ryan noted that both Adam and Eve looked to blame someone other than themselves rather than considering their own hearts. Who are the people or what are the institutions that we seek to blame for our struggles?
5. Why is it so hard for us to have "discourse" with our hearts?
6. In our hiding, how is it that we have been found? What is the risk of coming out of hiding? What is the benefit?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"A Marriage Made in Heaven" - Genesis 2:18-24 (September 28, 2014)

1. Have someone in the group read the passage.
2. What have been some of the positive refrains God has made throughout Genesis 1?
3. There is a phrase that stands out as very different from what we've previously heard, what is it?
4. Why is it difficult for us to be known?
5. How does a relationship, like marriage, free us to be known?
6. What is marriage a foretaste of? Read Revelation 21 and talk discuss the implications of that passage for us today and for what we anticipate.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Why Life is (Very) Good" - Genesis 2:4-17 (September 21, 2014)

1. Have someone in your group read the passage.
2. We often speak, rightly so, of our identity being "in Christ." How does this passage give another aspect to our identity?
3. Why is it a privilege to be a creature of God?
4. Think specifically about your context: How can we be responsible Christian workers?
5. What are the ways that this passage gives us freedom to live as humans made in God's image?

Monday, September 15, 2014

"The Image of God" - Genesis 1:27-28 (September 14, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage out loud.
2. Why do the answers to questions about your story, value, and identity matter?
3. How does the world assign value and worth to humans?
4. According to the text, who are the people assigned with value?
5. If every human life has dignity, how does that change our interaction with others?
6. What function do we have as a result of being God's image bearers? Try and be specific to your setting.
7. Read Romans 8:26-30. What does this passage tell us about our image bearing (specifically v. 29)?
8. How can this future promise effect how we live today?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Restoring Wonder" - Genesis 1:1-27 (September 7, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. Ryan quoted, "We are often more fascinated by the things we've created then what we haven't." Why are we prone to take for granted and become dull with the things we're familiar with?
3. God created through the power of his word. What power does it have over our lives?
4. What implications does God's declaration, "very good" at the end of the creation week have upon us?
5. How ought should God's creation stir us?
6. How are we to grow in confidence, cultivate new curiosity, and have new affections based on God being the creator of all things?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Who Gets Your Stuff?" - Luke 12:13-21 (August 31, 2014)

1. Have someone read the passage and open the time in prayer.
2. Why do questions about possessions and money feel so invasive to us?
Ryan defined coveting as, "demanding what is not yours."
3. Thinking about the definition given, what was the problem with the man building a bigger a larger barn?
4. How does the tenth commandment give us insight into the problem?
Ryan defined contentment as, "delighting in what is ours in Christ by grace."
5. What does it mean and what does it not mean to be content?
6. If we are to hold lightly our "stuff," what are we to hold tightly to?
7. Discuss ways that we can practically grow in our holding tightly to Christ and our contentment with what he has given us.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Who do you say that I am?" - Matthew 16:13-20 (8/24/14)

1. Have someone read the passage.
2. The profession, "You are the Christ" is a statement that concerns our belief about Jesus and about ourselves. When we make this profession, what are we saying about who Jesus is? What are the implications of this for us?
3. In this passage we see that we believe in Christ because God revealed it to us, why does God's revealing himself to us humble us?
4. What is the sure promise that is made to us in this passage?
5. As a result of the promise, we have a stunning privilege, what is it and how can we live this out?

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Whose Likeness is This?" - Matthew 22:15-22 (9/17/14)

1. Read through the passage together.
2. Ryan said that this passage is, "less about political leanings, and more about personal loyalties." What are the different things, ideas, groups, etc. around us that are competing for our personal loyalties?
3. Jesus' instruction, "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's," leads us to give to our country our "allegiance" and our "resistance." Discuss ways that we can and need to do both.
4. While we have an obligation to our country, we see from this text that we have a greater obligation to our Creator. Where do we see Jesus teaching us that we are to give our whole lives to him?
5. Where are the places in your life that you are prone to give greater to allegiance to rather than to Christ?
6. What are practical ways we can grow in giving all of our humanity and all of our hearts to Jesus?

Monday, August 11, 2014

"How much is that sparrow?" - Matthew 10:26-33 (8/10/14)

1. Have someone read through the passage aloud.
2. Why does Jesus ask the question about the sparrows?
3. What does this say about God's character and who he is?
4. What are the things in your life that you fear? What is a situation you've experienced recently that caused you to act or respond with fear?
5. How does what Jesus says in this passage address our everyday fears?
6. The doctrine of God's sovereignty is a wonderful truth, but often it can used in our relationships in unhelpful ways. Discuss how we can appropriate God's sovereignty with sympathy in our relationships.
7. Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for his sovereign care over all things. Ask him to give you wisdom and sympathy when speaking of God's sovereignty to others who are hurting or fearful.

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Do you understand what I have done to you?" - John 13:1-17 (8/3/14)

1. Have someone read the passage out loud.
2. Charles talked about us chasing greatness, how does the world around us define greatness? Where are the places that the world looks for greatness? Where are the places that we look for greatness?
3. How does Jesus, by his actions and his words, re-orient our understanding of greatness?
4. What was so revolutionary about Jesus' redefining of greatness?
5. How can you live out this new form of greatness (service / foot washing) in your family, church, work, neighborhood, etc? Try and be specific and don't limit yourself to just your service as an individual but include service as a community.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Confronting Our Ingratitude" - Luke 17:11-19 (7/27/14)

1. Remind one another of the various parts of the story from Luke 17:11-19.

2. What was the reason the Jesus told them to present themselves to the priest?

3. Can you think of a time that you were not grateful for something God had done for you? Why is it easy for us to forget God's grace and not have gratitude?

4. Name some of the ways that you've seen God work on your behalf.

5. What are the ways that we can express gratitude for what God has done? Think about this individually as well as corporately.

Monday, July 21, 2014

What Good is Salt Without Taste? Matthew 5:13-16 (July 20, 2014)

1. In this passage, what does Jesus tell us about our identity?

2. From the sermon, what are two ways that the church can engage in the world?

3. Do you find yourself more prone to one of these ways more than the other?  What are some positive and negative aspects about both these ways?

4. Where are the places that you can act as an agent of "halt" and as an agent of "help" in your spheres?

Take some time and pray together, asking God to give you opportunities to be a man and woman who acts to halt and to help.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Should God Do? Matthew 21:33-46 (6/22/14)

1. What are the things / people in your life that you struggle to have patience with?
2. How does this passage show us God's patience?  What does this reflect about God's disposition towards his people?
3. Who is deserving of God's justice?  What is his justice?  
4. How does this parable speak about God's justice?
5. This passage directs us to be a "fruitful vineyard;" how can the church live out its purpose of being a "fruitful vineyard" in the world (try to be specific)?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Love Your Enemies: Matthew 5:43-48 // June 15, 2014

1. Who are the people that you are rooting and / or raging against?

2. Why is seeking to be neutral (neither hating nor loving) those people not a valid option?

3. We are encouraged by this passage to love those we hate by praying.  What are the things that we can pray for those who are our enemies and for ourselves?

4. What are some other Scriptures that are examples of praying for and blessing enemies?

5. How will remembering God's love for enemies, his love for us, affect the way we love each other?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Matthew 8:23-27: Why Are You Afraid? (June 8, 2014)

1) Matthew describes the boat as undergoing "great turbulence" [the word he uses for 'storm']. When have you experienced the turbulence of life? 

2) In Mark's account (Mark 4:38) and in Psalm 10:1, the Bible accuses God of being indifferent to our hardship.  When have you felt these same sentiments?  How does it make you feel that these words are expressed?

3) Why is trusting in Jesus as a stranger helpful to our Christian walk? 

4) From this passage, how do we see Jesus as our companion?

5) Are there situations right now that are calling for courageous faith?  What are some practical steps you need to take to discover that courage? 

Monday, June 2, 2014

What Do You Want? Matthew 20:29-34

1. The reason that the blind men were approaching Jesus seems obvious, so why did Jesus ask his question?

2. The blind men were asking for freedom from what plagued them, what plagues you that you need freedom from?  Try to be specific.

3. What signal is Jesus sending by healing the men right before he entered Jerusalem?

4. What are we to do in response to this?  How does interrogating our desires help us "get to the bottom" of our behaviors?  And how does that help us?  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Why Are You Anxious?" Matthew 6:25-34

1. What are things that world encourages us to value that cause us anxiety?

2. When we underestimate our value, what are we subtly asking about God?

3. What does Jesus tell us will give us freedom from anxiety?

4. What are some practical ways that you can be pursuing Christ's kingdom?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jesus' Questions: What Does it Profit a Man? Matthew 16

1.  According to the sermon, how does the culture understand the question about forfeiting our soul?  What does Jesus mean when he speaks about "forfeiting our soul?"  How does this expand our normal, daily perspective on our lives?

2.  How is Jesus as both Judge and Savior help us to live today in light of the Judgment Day?  How does it correct us? encourage us?  Spur us on to good deeds?  

3.  Why is it important for Christians -- who have assurance of eternal life with Jesus -- to ask this question of themselves? 

4.  Jesus say to follow him we must take our cross (v. 24), what does He mean?  How do we practically live this way? 

5.  Who is one, non-Christian friend or family member you know who might respond to this question?  (Bear in mind, it is a confrontational question!  We must always ask these questions in love for others, not to win an argument or to feel superior to others.)  Is there another way to phrase it that might be helpful in sharing the gospel with that person? 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter with Thomas: April 20, 2014 -- John 20:24-31

1. Where are the dark places that you need or have seen Jesus meet you?  Or asked differently where do you see yourself feeling skepticism or anxiety or both?

2. What did Ryan say is the thing that we need to address our skepticism & anxiety?  How does this occur?

3. How do we see Jesus showing grace and kindness to Thomas?  Why is this a reflection of Christ's grace?

4. Where are the places in our lives where we need to surrender to Jesus and declare the is "God and my Lord"?  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Philippians 4:14-23: Paul's Investment Advice (4/13/14)

1. In verse 14, Paul thanked the Philippians for encouraging him.  What are practical ways that you have been encouraged by someone else? Who do you have an opportunity to encourage?  How?  

2. What works do you feel a partnership with?  Why do you feel that?  

3. In verse 18, God promises to supply 'ever need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.'  How can this principle be abused? 

4.  What are specific ways we supply ourselves rather than drawing on God's supply?  For our sense of acceptance or significance?  How do we draw on God's supply for our needs?

5. In verse 21 and 22, Paul reminds us how sweet Christian fellowship is.  How do we avoid taking our Christian relationships for granted? 

6. What is your greatest obstacle to living more generously (selfishness? busyness? fear?)? How does the generosity of God remove that obstacle? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Philippians 4:8-9: Food for Thought (March 16, 2014)

1. Ryan said that many of us have a tendency to focus on "right thinking" or "right acting" - which do you find yourself more prone to?

2. Paul's use of "whatever" opens the door to the world, where do you see beauty, truth, honor, etc. around you?  What contributes to our difficulty to see these things?  

3. What are the things that you've been called to do, but you've been reluctant to?

4. Ryan said knowing and doing is about love, what do your thoughts and actions say about who and / or what you love?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Philippians 4:4-7 (March 9, 2014): Spoiler Alert

1. What are the things that prevent us from having joy?

2. What did Ryan say is the difference between denial and defiance?  Why are these distinctions important?

3. What are the common things and where are the common places that you can find joy?

4. Do you find yourself to be more of a rule stickler or a rule bender? Where are places that you can grow in being reasonable in your life?

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 23, 2014: Philippians 4:1-3: Called Out for Good

1.  What is the difference between the biblical concepts of forgiveness versus reconciliation?  Can you have one without the other?  

2. What makes it difficult for us to love those whom we disagree?

3.  What were some of the diagnostic questions that Ryan encouraged us to consider before we bring an offense to someone?  Why are these particular questions helpful?

4.  How does the gospel free us to pursue reconciliation in our relationships?  Specifically, how does the promise that our names are written in the "Book of Life" (v. 3) empower us to reconcile with others?  See also Revelation 3:5 and Luke 10:20.

5.  Ryan suggested that sometimes it is more unloving to not confront someone rather than to confront them.  Why is this the case? Read Proverbs 27:5-6 for further reflection on this theme. 

6.  Spend some time praying for one another, that God might assist you in pursuing reconciliation out of love, with humility, and in response to Jesus reconciling us to God.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 16, 2014: Philippians 3:17-21: Why the Church Needs You and You Need the Church

{Leader's Note: You may want to have the group read Donald Miller's blog post referenced in the sermon.  Find it here:}

1. Prior to the sermon, what would you have said was the reason you come to church?

2. Who are the people who have modeled / imitated the Christian life for you (v. 17)?  What are things you've learned from them?

3.  Can you think of a non-believing friend or family member whom you may have dismissed in your heart?  What would it look like to move  towards this person instead of withdrawing?  How do we begin to weep for our unbelieving friends? 

4.  Where do you feel like you find your main source of community?  If it isn't at church, why do you think that is?  If it is at church, what makes it that way for you?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Feb 9: Philippians 3:11-16 The Race of Your Life

1.  Is the metaphor of the Christian life as a race helpful for you?  Why or why not?

2. What are the things in your life that divert your focus from the Lord?  What is appealing about these things?  

3. Do you find yourself running blind (without a clear motivation for your Christian life)?  Or running scared (trying to 'keep up appearances' out of fear of what people will think)?  Or are you running free? 

4. What should motivate us to run the Christian life?  Why?


Monday, February 3, 2014

2/2/14: "Do the Math" (Philippians 3:1-11)

Discussion Questions for “Do the Math” (Philippians 3:1-11), February 2, 2014
  1. In light of this passage, how do you think would Paul would have answered this question, "How was it that the thing you liked best about yourself was your biggest spiritual problem?" (This question originates from Pastor Brian Habig.  If you are interested, you can listen to the complete sermon here:  Click ‘Launch Jukebox‘ and select the sermon “Justification-1-week 2”).    
  2. Are you more prone to ‘shaky confidence’ (unsure of God’s love of you) or ‘stoic confidence’ (unfeeling or unmoved by God’s love)?  How does Paul encourage us to have a ‘sure confidence‘ in Jesus? 
  3. What does Paul mean by knowing the ‘power of the resurrection?’  How would our daily lives change by knowing this power?
  4. How does this passage challenge you personally to view your relationship with God as more than a transaction? 
  5. How can our church community help each other to resist false confidences?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1/26: "Are We Alone Together" (Philippians 2:19-30)

1.  When you hear the word "community" what typically comes to mind? Looking at Paul's words in Phil. 2:19-30, what are some marks of a community of believers?

2.  Are there times when you feel alienated from others and God? Why? According to Paul, how are we able to find comfort during these times?

3.  Even though we are to find our comfort in Christ, why is community with others necessary?  

4.  How does Jesus, by reconciling us to God, also sweeten our friendships?

5.  How does our dependence upon others show our spiritual maturity? How do we balance our desires to be known and accepted by others and our understanding that, ultimately, only Christ is able fulfill these longings?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1/19: "Working Out" (Philippians 2:12-18)

1.  Why does Paul call for his readers to live in, and not retreat from, "a crooked and twisted generation"? How do we do this?

2.  In v. 12, Paul tells the Philippians to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." What does this look like in your own life? How is it possible for Christians to live with fear and trembling, yet also with joy?

3.  What does it mean to be a people of the Word?

4.  What does Paul say regarding our own words? How is our speech a reflection of our holiness?

5.  Paul lives in light of "the day of Christ." How often do you find yourself living in light of the future? How does Christ's return encourage and motivate you towards greater holiness? 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1/12: "Ephesian Session Meeting Minutes" (Acts 20:28-38)

1.  When you think about those who are in leadership within the Church, what comes to mind? How does the world typically portray church leaders? Why is understanding Church government important?

2.  Looking at Paul’s words in Acts 20:28-38, what does his example teach us about how elders and other leaders are to serve in the church? 

3.  Why does the Bible often portray God’s people as sheep? 

4.  Why is it often difficult for us to trust those who are in positions of leadership in and outside of the church? 

5.  How can those in leadership within the church better display their shortcomings and brokenness? How can we create an environment within the church where the shortcomings of elders and those they shepherd can be shared freely?