A Wise Person...Week 1

Ice Breaker

1.    This week we’re diving into a series on wisdom.  Share one of the smartest decisions you think you ever made or one of the most foolish. (your choice)

Diving In

2.     Read Proverbs 1:1-7.  In verse 4 Solomon eludes to the fact that these are for the "simple" and the "young".  Are there times when you’ve felt foolish (not the sharpest tool in the shed)?  How do the proverbs level the playing field of life by allowing those who would not be considered the wisest to live like the wisest?

3.     Read Proverbs 2:1-8.  In verse 3-4 he describes a level urgency to find wisdom.  Why do we not pursue wisdom with this type of urgency?  What are you more urgently going after in life over wisdom?

4.     Read Proverbs 4:1-7.  In verse 7 King David declares that wisdom is supreme and to get it at all cost.  What could be the cost of pursuing wisdom?  What might you have to say no to, to say yes to what is right?

5.     Most of us live with regrets and remorse of things we wish we would/could have done differently.  What could you do this week to take a wise step in your life which you believe will reduce future regret or remorse?

Power Point Slides Click Here

Boldness is better then the Bubble

1. What did you want to be when you were a kid? Are you glad things turned out they way they have?

2. What are some ways you feel like you live in a bubble? How do you balance the tension of wanting safety and making bold risks?

3. Read Luke 9:23. What are some areas you need to die to yourself this week?

4. Read  Acts 1:8 and 8:1. How do you see God accomplishing his purposes? How should we as American believers apply this in our setting where persecution isn't present?

5. Pastor Buck challenged us to pray more Boldly this week. What are the things you feel like you need courage to be bold in? Are there specific actions you feel like you need to take to put yourself in place to see opportunities better?

I'm Going Through A Stage- Week 4- Parent

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we’re talking about disciple “making”.  All of us are good and making something…share something you’re good at making.

Diving In

2.     Stage 5 in the spiritual growth spectrum is a spiritual PARENT, not adult, but parent because a parent makes a child and we are called to MAKE DISCIPLES.   How is this concept on the spiritual maturity spectrum challenging to you?

3.     This week Pastor Josh talked through portions of Acts 2-4.  Reread 2:11-17, 22-24, 36-41.  How has the disposition of the disciples changed dramatically since the crucifixion when they all abandoned Jesus?  How are they demonstrating spiritual parenting?

4.     One of the verses Pastor Josh highlighted was Acts 4:13.  Being a spiritual parent is not reserved for only pastors or highly educated Christians, but for everyone, for ordinary people.  What has kept you from taking the next step toward spiritual parenting?  Most of us can invest in someone else, even if it’s a child.  Is there a first step you could take today?

5.     Some people finish their lives peacefully, some luxuriously, some making big impacts, some quietly.  The Apostle Paul describes how he longs to leave this world in 2 Timothy 4:6-7.  How would you like the final years of your life to look?

Power Point Slides Here

I'm Going Through a Stage- Week 3- Young Adult

Ice Breaker

1.     This week as we dive into talking about stage 4 of spiritual growth (the young adult stage), this stage is filled with risk taking.  Share of a time when you took a great risk, or one of your greatest adventures.

Diving In

2.     During this stage the individual has broken through the self-centered growth barrier and serves with passion, zeal, and joy.  If you’ve taken steps to serve, what has been the greatest unexpected joy or discovery you’ve made in this stage of the journey?

3.     Luke chapter 9 is a great chapter describing the disciple’s experience of practicing their gifts and serving.  They experience successes and failures in this chapter.  As you dive into this chapter, what stands out to you or challenges you most as you desire to grow in serving?  Reference power point slides if you’d like.

4.     Pastor Josh talked through the 5 Catalyst of growing faith again this week.  Reference power point slides.  If you can, share one of the Catalyst that has been critical to your growth in serving. 

5.     One of the realities as we serve is that we will be hurt by others, or we may hurt others.  Being given permission to grieve, coached, encouraged, etc, is a critical part of growing through this stage and not growing cynical.  What have you learned in this regard? 

6.     How will you take another step in your spiritual journey this week?

Power point Slides Here

I'm Going Through A Stage- Week 2- Child

Ice Breaker

1.     This weeks focus was on the stage of being a child.  What was your favorite part of being a child?

Diving In

2.     In Mark 10:35-45 Jesus is dealing with his disciples defaulting back to acting like spiritual children (self-centered).  He pushes back in verses 42-45 with a kingdom attitude adjustment.  What stands out to you in this passage and challenges you in regards to acting like a child and maturing in your faith?

3.     During the message Pastor Josh mentioned some of the phrases that a spiritual child might say.  (refer to the powerpoint slides)  Why is it so easy to slide into the self-centered/ consumer Christianity mindset?  How do you fight that?

4.     Pastor Josh talked about 5 Catalyst to Growing Faith and what needs to be experienced in each of these in the childlike stage.  Discuss each catalyst.  How have you experienced these in your life?  Is there a catalyst that you would personally like to dive deeper into to grow?

a.     Practical Teaching

b.     Providential Relationships

c.      Private Disciplines

d.     Pivotal Circumstances

e.     Personal Ministry

Powerpoint Slides Here

I'm Going Through A Stage- Week 1

Ice Breaker

1.     Stages of life can be wonderful and difficult.  In your opinion, what do you think the most difficult stage in life is and the best stage in life.

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh introduced the first 2 stages in the spiritual journey.  The first stage is spiritually dead.  (Eph. 2:1-5)  Pastor Josh asked the question, what do you expect of a dead person?  Sometimes we expect non-Christians to act like Christ.  Are you really okay with spiritually dead people coming to church and acting spiritually dead? 

3.     Reference the powerpoint slides and discuss what those who are spiritually dead need.  How can you play a part in engaging those who are spiritually dead?  (Matt. 9:9-13)

4.     Second, Pastor Josh talked about the spiritual infant.  (1 Peter 2:2-3/ Hebrews 5:12-13)  A spiritual infant doesn’t know what they don’t know.  Reference the powerpoint slides in what they might say.  What else might you hear from a spiritual infant?

5.     Understanding the spiritual stages is not to judge or condemn anyone for being where they might be, but to encourage us to understand where we each are at and how to take the next step in our journeys.  If you would call yourself a spiritual infant, what practical steps do you need to take to grow?  If you’re further along in your spiritual journey, how might God be calling you to invest in a spiritual infant?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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.

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

 

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here

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?

Powerpoint Slides Here