The Jury's Out- Week 3

Ice Breaker

1.     Is there anything in life that you thought you wouldn’t like, (passed judgment on it) and after experiencing it, your perspective has changed? (example: food, sport, hobby, person, music style, etc.)

Diving In

2.     This week we looked at the story of the Good Samaritan.  In Verse Luke 10:25-29 the expert in the law wanted to justify himself…meaning know that he was following all the rules to please God.  How do we sometimes fall into the same mindset of simply wanting to make sure God is happy with us?

3.     Verses 30-33 we see the setting and who responded.  The Samaritan is the one who responds with compassion.  The Samaritan would be the opposing team to the Israelites.  If Jesus were telling a modern day version to you, who would be the unlikely hero in your story?  Who is the person or people group you have a tendency to judge?

4.     In verse 33 it says he was on a journey and he “came upon” the man.  The reality is you can’t go looking to judge people differently, our hearts have to already be prepped to respond differently/ uniquely when we come upon someone who others might judge.  If you could ask God to change your heart, your thinking, your judgment what would you ask Him to work on today?

5.     What could it look like for you to interact with others in such a way that you "disturb the fabric of society" so that that they have to rethink their lives?  Perhaps it’s rethinking their perspective of Christian or Jesus.

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The Jury's Out- Week 2

Ice Breaker

1.     When you are really good at something it is easy to judge that thing.  (Which is why they have musicians judge music competitions and athletes judge athletics, etc)…share something you are great at and you feel like you could judge well.

Diving In

2.     In Matthew 23 Jesus is talking about the Pharisees, a group of people who are super judgmental of others in the area of the religious lifestyle.  Pastor Josh proposed that self-righteousness is #1 cause to a judgmental attitude (verse 5 says “everything they do is for people to see”)…how have you seen this as true? 

3.     There are 4 titles/ attitudes that Jesus addresses about the Pharisees.  If you consider the opposite of each of these titles/ attitudes we can see 4 things that counter balance self-righteousness.  Discuss each of these.  How does applying each naturally fight self-righteousness?

a.     Vs 8-Rabbi/ Teacher- Are you teachable?

b.     Vs 9-Father/ Authority- Can you submit to authority?

c.      Vs 10-Leader/ Guide- Can you be led by someone else and ultimately Jesus?

d.     Vs 11- Great/ Exalted- Can you be humble and a servant?

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The Jury's Out- Week 1

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we are talking about judgment, if you could judge any ridiculous contest, what would you want to judge?  Ie. Longest beard contest, best pancake contest, coolest leather boots contest, worst breathe contest, etc…

Diving In

2.     Discuss the concept Pastor Josh talked about in Genesis 2:16-17.  At the fall mankind became aware of right and wrong (good and evil)…aka the ability to judge, but not given the authority to judge.  Consider the following passages as well.  (James 4:12, Ps. 75:7, Ps. 7:11, 2 Tim. 4:8)

3.     Pastor Josh talked about making the shift from judgment to discernment.   (Heb. 5:14, Phil. 9-10)  How is discernment and judgment different?  How do you know if you are discerning or judging someone?

4.     Discuss the account of Zacchaeus in Luke 19.  What did everyone in his community see on the surface of Zacchaeus?  What did Jesus see under the surface? 

5.     Discuss James 2:13.  How can you demonstrate mercy over judgment this week?

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Mothers Day- We Are Family

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we talked about family.  If you had to describe your family as a animal group, what animal grouping would you describe them as and why?

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh dove into two different passages of scripture that redefine family in the kingdom of God.  Discuss the following passages, insights from each encounter, questions and applications points.

a.     Mark 3:20-22, 31-34.  How does Jesus use kingdom family to address perceived failure?

b.     John 19:25-27.  How does Jesus use kingdom family to address perceived fear?

3.     At the foot of the cross we become family and our identity as a child of God trumps everything.  How does your identity as a child of God impact your day-to-day life?  How does it bring freedom?  How does it lift the daily weight of life off your shoulders?

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Practical Christianity- Week 5

Ice Breaker

1.     Today we’re talking about perseverance…time for a good old fashion competition by trying to out last each other.  Choose an endurance competition and see who can go the longest.  (push up contest, wall sit, starring contest, holding your breath, etc)

a.     Leaders Note: after the competition ask everyone, do they think they could have pushed any further?  Did they have anything left to give?  How often do we give up with just a little bit more left to give?

Diving In

2.     In James chapter 5, James talks about perseverance.  Everything from situations where we need to persevere, how we persevere, and for what purpose we persevere.  Discuss each of them, how they apply to your life, when you’ve gone through them in the past, and how you need to adjust for the future.

a.     Perseverance in suffering.  Vs 7-12.  What do we learn from the examples of the farmer and Job? 

b.     Perseverance in prayer and faith.  Vs13-18.  When we experience trouble, sickness and sin how does it impact our prayer and faith journey?  How does Elijah’s faith motivate or challenge you?  Do you naturally run from God or run to God when your faith is caught in the crosshairs?

c.      Perseverance in relationships with the lost.  Vs 19-20.  What keeps you from pressing on in relationship with the lost?

3.     We will all face times in life when we feel like “I don’t feel like I can take it anymore”.  It’s in these moments we need to press on and persevere in our faith.  Are you in one of those times now?  How can your group pray for you today?  For everyone, what will you do to take another step in your faith journey this week?

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Practical Christianity- Week 4

Ice Breaker

1.     Today we’re talking about internal battles…to get into it let’s play a little "would you rather".

a.     Would you rather be without elbows or be without knees?

b.     Would you rather experience a sharp pain in your side each time someone says your name or have a bell sound each time someone coughs near by?

c.      Would you rather have a large 10 inch long belly button that swayed to music or have accordions for legs?

d.     Would you rather have to sneeze but not be able to or have something stuck in your eye for an entire year?

e.     Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon?

f.      Would you rather have hair nowhere on your body or be very hairy all over and not be able to shave?

g.     Would you rather never be able to speak again or always have to say everything that is on your mind?

Diving In

2.     This week as we dive in James 4:1-2 he begins by describing the state of living in an internal battle.  The description is really of someone who is losing this battle.  How can you relate to the person(s) described here?  How does a selfish approach to life impact this internal battle?

3.     Verse 2b-3 James describes the process of asking God for things.  Discuss the 2 insight Pastor Josh referred to.

a.     We often don’t ask God…we try to problem solve on our own.

b.     Our motive in the ask matters.

4.     Verse 4 James reveals the battle between being a friend of the world and a friend of God.  How do we become friends with the world vs God?  Pastor Josh also mentioned other topics where we trust what the world says vs. God (government, materialism, tolerance/ acceptance) are there others areas you find yourself caught between the world and God?

5.     In verse 8 he refers to the readers as double-minded.  How do we fall into this same category?  Are there areas in your life that you’ve called “godly” or maybe “okay with God”, but truthfully, they are of the world not of Him?

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Practical Christianity- Week 3

Ice Breaker

1.     If you could control some element (ie. water, wind, fire, etc) like a super hero, what would you want to be able to control and why?

Diving In

2.     This week we are talking about control…but specifically the ability to control the tongue.  In James 3:2 there seems to be some huge implications to our lives if we learn to control our tongues.  Have you experienced or seen as someone gets control of their tongue that other areas of their lives also seem to come under control as well?  What did it look like?

3.     Verses 3-5 James gives 3 examples of 3 small things that have huge impacts.  How in your life have you experienced the tongue have huge impacts for good or evil?  What practices can you put in place to use it for huge kingdom impacts?

4.     Verse 6 eludes to the reality that a tongue not tamed destroys the person as a whole.  Where do you struggle with your tongue? How could this be impacting you in bigger ways?  (job, relationships, etc)

5.     Ultimately this is not about just trying harder to control our tongues.  This is about surrender to God and allowing Him to control your tongue and your whole life.  (Luke 6:45)  How can you allow God greater control in your life and over your words this week?

6.     Any other insights or applications from the rest of Chapter 3 that you wish to discuss or share?

 

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Practical Christianity- Week 2

Ice Breaker

1.     If you knew that you could please or impress someone, who would that be?

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh talked about the tension between faith and deeds.  We live in a conditional culture where it is so natural to feel the need to earn love or acceptance through our actions and deeds.  How have you felt tension between faith and deeds in your walk with God?

3.     In James 2:14 he proposes the big question…how someone have valid faith in Jesus and yet not have deeds that accompany that faith.  What is your perspective of that question?

4.     In this passage James talks about different types of faith that is dead.  (ie the type of faith that demons have/ the type of faith that aren’t accompanied by actions)  How do you see a faith that is alive to be different? 

5.     In James 2:18 James indicates that faith has to be accompanied by actions.  Consider the illustration Jesus uses of a tree bearing fruit in Matthew 7:17-20…how does this picture help build a construct for how our faith is meant to impact our lives and others around us?

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Practical Christianity- Week 1

Ice Breaker

1.     This week as we dive into the book of James, James is calling the people to action…to just do it!  Share something that you’ve always wanted to do, but you’ve continually put off.

Diving In

2.     The context of the first half of the chapter is James addressing a group of people where life is just not fair.  How does James encourage the people to respond in 19-20?  How do you practice this?

3.     Verse 21 he talks about getting rid of all moral filth and evil that is so prevalent.  Pastor Josh talked about this word prevalent as meaning what is common, accepted, happening often, and widespread.  What moral filth is common in your circles of friends, in our culture, and perhaps working its way into your life?

4.     Verses 22-24 talk about not just being hearers of the Word but doers also.  Why is this so difficult for us?  Where do you want to become a doer of the Word?

5.     Verse 25 he talks about the word of God bringing freedom and blessing…how does this take effect in your life?

6.     What step can you take this week to start doing something the Lord is calling you into?

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Story Rewind- Week 8- Restoration

Ice Breaker

1.     Share with the group the most difficult thing you have tried to restore/bring back to life (ie. furniture, plant, car)…and were you successful?

Diving In

2.     This week we’re looking at the account of Nehemiah returning to Jerusalem to restore the walls.  The reality is all of us have experienced feeling the need for restoration in an area of our lives.  Share with the group an area in your life where you still feel you need healing/ restoration/ or growth.

3.     Pastor Josh talked a series of signs along side the road on the journey to restoration.  Explore and discuss each sign along the journey.  How can you relate to each sign along the way?  Where do you need to take the next step in your journey toward restoration?  Have you experience any of these before?

a.     Honest brokenness- Neh. 1:3-4

b.     Remember promises- Neh. 1:8-9

c.      Face the first wave of opposition- Neh. 2:1-4

d.     Honest assessment- Neh. 2:13

e.     Start the chain reaction- Neh. 2:20

f.      Face the second wave of opposition- Neh. 4:7-8

                i.     With: people, swords, mortar- Neh. 4:16-18

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Story Rewind- Week 7- Exiles

Ice Breaker

1.     Share a time period in your life or place where you worked where you felt the most out of place, like a foreigner in that setting.

Diving In

2.     This week we looked at Daniel and the model he displays for us as he lives as an exile.  He gives us some good insights on how to live when we feel like this world is not our home, or we feel like a foreigner in the situation we are in.  Discuss each statement along with the scripture and how this can apply to our lives.

a.     Honor those in authority while holding to convictions.  Daniel 1:8-16

b.     Use the perplexing situations of the day to be the platform for God to display power.  Daniel 2:2-3, 5, 27-30, 46-48

c.      Submit to God to fight the battles on your behalf.  Daniel 6:4-7, 10-27

3.     God refers to us as exiles and foreigners in this world.  John 15:18-19, 17:16, 1 Peter 2:11-12, Phil 3:20.  How do this passages challenge your mindset as how to live as exiles in this world?

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Story Rewind- Week 6- Kingdom

Ice Breaker

1.     If you could create your own earthly kingdom (the skies the limits), what would you name it and what would be its best attribute?

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh talked about the Kingdom of God and how through the actions of 3 kings (David, Solomon, and Jesus) they modeled different elements of bringing God’s kingdom to earth.   Discuss each of them and how these heavenly kingdom principles are meant to impact our lives.

a.     David in Worship- 1 Chron. 16:7-10, 23:5, 25:1.  In what ways do you desire to grow in your worship?  John 4:23

b.     Solomon in Wisdom- 1 Kings 10:4-5.  In what ways would having kingdom wisdom change your life?

c.      Jesus in Power/ Action/ Love/ (really everything)- John 5:16-19 

3.     Discuss the following passages in Ephesians 1:18-21, 2:4-7,10.  God’s view is that we are positioned with Christ in the heavenly realms and that we live out of that reality.  What does it look like to have your heart rooted in heaven for earths sake?

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Story Rewind- Week 5- God is Faithful even when we are not

    1. When was a time where the rebel in you pulled away from God because you thought you knew what was best for your life?

    2. Looking at Gideon, we learned that there were many more qualified leaders of the army. Think of a time that you were a     leader when it didn’t make sense:

        Was their someone better equipped? 

        Was there someone who had more experience? 

        Was their someone who trusted God more? 

 What did God do in the situation? How did He come through to show His faithfulness and His power?

 

    3. How do you take time to worship God after a victory He delivers?

 

    4. Tell about a time where you didn’t measure up, didn’t deserve God to come through, or were simply lacking faith or perseverance, but God came through anyway. 

 

    5. Can you think of a story in Scripture that helps you remember God’s faithfulness?

 

    6. Is there someone you are praying for who needs to repent and return to Christ or say yes to Him for the first time? As a group, stop and pray for those people.

Story Rewind- Week 4- Conquest

Ice Breaker

1.     Let’s play a hypothetical game with the person sitting 3 to the right of you.  Who would win in a battle between the two of you in each of the following categories?  In a food eating battle, physical fight battle, intelligence battle, thumb war battle?

Diving In

2.     This week we looked at a season filled with battles called the time of Conquest with Joshua.  What are battles like in your life? 

3.     Pastor Josh talked about 3 things to keep in mind in the battle.  Explore and discuss these principles together.  How do you apply these in your life?

a.     Attitude you should carry.  Joshua 1:6,7,9…Be strong and courageous.

b.     Activity you should embrace.   Joshua 1:7-8…engagement in the Word of God.

c.      Ally you should join.  Joshua 5:13-14…Join God in what He is doing.

4.     What’s the most important practical step for you to take this week when you find yourself in the battle?

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Story Rewind- Week 3- Moses & God the Deliverer

Ice breaker

1.     Have you ever rescued anybody or anything?  What happened and what did you do?

Diving In

2.     Sometimes when we are in desperate need of a rescue from God, we can feel like God does not see us, hear us, or care about us.  How does Exodus 3:7-8 speak to those same feelings?

3.     Pastor Josh walked through the journey we often experience along the way to deliverance.  He discussed 5 different steps along the journey.  Discuss each of the following steps, how you’ve experienced God in these in your life, and what He might be doing in each step.

a.     The why phase- (5:22-23)

b.     God shows up in the most impossible place (6:1)

c.      God wants to demonstrate His character (6:2-5,8)

d.     God will give you something to remember (6:6)

e.     God wants to make a personal connection with you (6:7)

4.     One of the saddest parts of the account is that after the people of Israel are delivered they eventually grumble and complain and long to return to Egypt.  How can we sometimes do the same thing, after experiencing God’s hand in our lives sometimes go back to the old way of life?

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Story Rewind- Week 2- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob

Ice Breaker

1.     Did you ever make a promise that you didn’t keep that bit you in the butt?  What happened?

Diving In

2.     This week we looked at Patriarch’s (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) from which came the chosen people.  What insights did you gain or do you have to the purpose of God having a Chosen Nation/ People?  (Deut. 7:7-9)

3.     Pastor Josh talked about 3 different elements promised to Abraham by God.  How are each important to the story of God?  (Gen 12:1-3)

a.     Promise of being a great nation.

b.     Promise to those outside the nation

c.      Promise to be a blessing to all the world

4.     God ratifies the covenant He makes with Abraham by himself (Gen 15).  Why is this important?  What does it teach us about God and His promises?  How does it impact us?  Have you doubted a promise of God, how does it challenge you in this?

5.     There are over 3500 promises in scripture.  Many are made to other individuals in specific situations.  Can the promises made to others teach us about the character of God and how He interacts with humanity and sometimes be applied in our lives?

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Story Rewind - Week 1 | Creation, Fall, Flood

Sticky Statement: God wants us, God wants us to want him, God won’t let sin get in the way of a relationship with Him!

Ice Breaker

1.) Which day of Creation is your favorite and why?

Diving In

For a complete picture of Creation, Fall and the Flood, take some time to read Genesis Chapters 1 - 9 this week.

1.) What was one take away that you received from the message? How will you apply that in your life?
  
2.) Part of the meaning of being made in the image of God is that we were made for relationships and community. When sin entered the world relationships were destroyed. Describe the change in relationships that occurred between the following:

a. God and mankind
b. Adam and Eve
c. Mankind and the rest of creation

3.) Discuss the parallels between Noah’s culture and our own. What attributes and actions of Noah can help
us face the challenges of godly living in the world today and making the choice to choose God?

4.) Many people perceive God as vengeful and distant when they encounter an event such as the Flood in the Old Testament. While God clearly establishes Himself as Judge of His creation, chapter one is over overflowing with examples of His love, mercy and grace. How many can you identify?

5.) God made a promise to Noah never again to destroy mankind by a flood and He confirmed it with a rainbow. What promises has he made to you?

In closing, the major doctrines of our faith are rooted here, namely sin and redemption. In the Bible, only the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two chapters of Revelation give us a glimpse into life in a world without sin, a world as God intended it to be. When we compare our world with what the world was like before sin, we learn that nothing is as it should be. Sin changes everything. Since the fall in the garden, man exists in a fallen world. But the believer’s hope lies in knowing that one day the Messiah, promised from the beginning, will return to earth, conquer evil, and fully restore the relationships lost in the garden. How does God want you to respond after hearing this?

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Fear Not- Week 4

Ice Breaker

1.     What’s your favorite season of the year, least favorite, and if you could only have 2 seasons of the 4 which would you choose and why?

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh talked about two different seasons (or postures) when approaching victory over fear.  Discuss the dynamics of each, how you’ve experienced each, and what type of season you might be in.

a.     Faith is Violent (Matt. 11:12/ Eph. 6:12/ 2 Tim. 1:7)

                                               i.     Consider how Jesus fought Satan’s temptations and how the word of God can be critical in victory.  (Psalm 119:11)

b.     Faith is Passive (Mark 10:14-15/ Romans 8:15)

                                               i.     Consider what it’s like when God gives you the grace for the victory when you did absolutely nothing for it.

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Fear Not- Week 3

Ice Breaker

1.     If you’re afraid what’s your most common reaction or response?  Ie.  Get antsy, take it out on someone else, eat, watch tv, isolate, exercise, read, pray, etc…

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh talked about the spiritual realities and rules which we followed apart from Christ vs as Christians.  Consider the following passages (Eph. 6:11-12, 1 Peter 5:8, Eph. 2:1-3, John 8:44, Romans 8:6-15) and discuss how falling into fear is falling back into enemy tactics and enemy rules.  (Col. 2:20)

3.     Read Phil. 1:27-28.  Verse 28 it describes how when we are not frightened by those who oppose us, it is a sign to them of their destruction and our salvation.  Discuss the statement Pastor Josh made about this passage.  “Every time we are victorious over fear, what is broadcast to the enemy is pending doom, absolute destruction, and a reminder that they have no solution…no wonder the enemy doesn’t want us to live in victory over fear.”

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