Friday, January 29, 2016

We Need One Another

Many churches consistently push people toward small groups as a vehicle to help them grow. This isn't just a churchy thing, though. "Secular" research also suggests that the people whom we allow to influence us will either drag us down or pull us up to their level.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How to Follow Jesus (Mark 1)

Which celebrities do you follow? How do you follow them?<br>
Which sports teams do you follow? How do you follow them?<br>
Which reality TV shows do you follow? How do you follow them?<br>
Which politicians do you follow? How do you follow them?

What do you think it means to follow Jesus?

Read Mark 1:16-20. How would you summarize these verses in one sentence?

What do you think Jesus meant when He promised to make these men into "fishers of men?"

What would it look like today for someone to be a "fisher of men?"

Read these verses again and make a list of all the things that were left behind when Jesus called the fishermen. What would be the modern day equivalents of each item on the list?

What types of things do you think Jesus expects people to leave behind if they are to follow Him?

If Jesus were to offer the same call to you, what would you have to leave behind in order to follow Him?

What action steps would you have to take in order to leave this thing behind? Are you willing to take these steps? Why or why not?

Does Jesus expect his followers to be fishers of men today?

If you were to be a fisher of men, what would you do differently than normal?

Who are 3-5 people you know that need to know Jesus? What can you do to draw them closer to you?

Having studied this short passage, what specific actions will you take this week to be a more effective follower of Jesus?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Jesus Offers A Fresh Start (Matthew 3)

Have you ever had a turning point in life? How did it happen? How did you benefit?

When have you benefited from receiving a fresh start? How did it change your life?

Read Matthew 3:1-12.

What words would you use to describe John? Who does he remind you of?

How would you summarize John's message in one or two sentences?

Read verses 7-10 again. Why do you think John used such strong language?

John told the people to "prove" that they had repented. How can someone prove that they have repented? What are some actions that go along with repentance?

Why is Jesus' baptism better than John's?

Once you've repented of something, Jesus gives you a fresh start. What are two or three areas of your life in which you need a fresh start?

What can you do this week to demonstrate true repentance?

What can you do this week to embrace the fresh start Jesus has given you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Harvest Is Ready But The Workers Are Few (Luke 10)

What are your favorite conversation topics? About what issues do you prefer not to talk? Why?

When was the last time you had an awkward conversation. What happened?

Do you find it easy or difficult to talk to people about God? Why?

Why do you think many people find it awkward to speak about their faith?

Read Luke 10:1-7. How would you summarize Jesus' instructions to his disciples?

If Jesus were to give this same command in today's world, what do you think He would have said?

What do you think it means to speak peace upon a house? How can you speak peace into the lives of those around you?

If you talk to others about your faith, what is the likelihood you'll be rejected? Did Jesus expect His disciples to be rejected? (read further in the passage)

Read verse 16. How does this verse make you feel? Why?

Was the mission a success or failure for the disciples? How do you know?

If you talk to many others about your faith, what is the likelihood some will be receptive?

Who are three people in your life with whom you know you should talk about God? What can you do this week to speak peace into their lives? What words can you use to share about your faith in Jesus?

What encouragement and motivation do you need from others to help you accomplish this?

Use Your Words To Heal Others (Proverbs 12, 16, 18)

When has someone hurt you with their words? How did you respond? How did you want to respond?
When have your words hurt someone? What did you do to try to make it right?
Why do you think words can be so powerful?
Read the following proverbs. For each one, write down one truth it teaches about words:
  • Proverbs 12:6
  • Proverbs 12:18
  • Proverbs 16:24
  • Proverbs 18:6-8
  • Proverbs 18:20-21
What kind of words are healing and positive? Think of a time when someone else used their words to encourage you. What did they do that was so helpful?
What verses or passages from the Bible have been positive and uplifting for you in the past? How have these words been healing for you?
Who do you know that needs to hear words that are healing? If you could share a healing Bible verse with one other person, who would it be? What would you share?
Who do you know that has been hurt by someone's words (maybe yours?) How can you use pleasant words to bring healing to them?
Where will you go this week that you can bring light with the way you talk? What encouraging and invigorating words will you share?
What words from God do you most need to hear today?
Find those words in His Word and keep them with you.

Necessary Endings: Uprooting and Tearing Down (Ecclesiastes 3)

If you could make more time in your day, what would you like to do?

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. 

Which verse in this passage is your favorite? Why?

Use one or two sentences to summarize this passage.

What do you think it means that God makes all things beautiful in His time (verse 11)? What is something difficult you have seen God turn into a beautiful thing?

According to these verses, tearing down and uprooting are not always bad things. When have you seen someone else grow by tearing down or uprooting things in their life?

What examples in the Bible have you seen of tearing down or uprooting for good?

Read Colossians 3:5-14. How are these verses similar to Ecclesiastes 3?

Colossians 3 lists several things Christians should get rid of. Which items on this list do you thing are most prevalent among Christians today?

With which items on this list do you sometimes struggle? 

When have you needed to tear down or uproot in your own life?

If you were going to end one bad habit in your life today, what would it be?

What is one step you can take this week to begin that journey? How can you ask others to pray for you in this endeavor?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

End Conflict: Stop Feeding the Fire (Proverbs 26)

What is the most foolish argument you've had in the past month? How did it begin? How did it end?
Think about the person with whom you argue more than anyone else. Why do you think this happens?
Why do you think many arguments eventually lead to people gossiping about each other?
Where are you most likely to be when you hear gossip? Why do you think that's true?
How have relationships in your life suffered because of arguments or gossip?
Read Proverbs 26:20. Rewrite the verse in your own words.
How does this verse suggest you can bring an end to arguments and gossip? Is this a reasonable solution? Why or why not?
How would your life be better if you cut in half the number of arguments or quarrels you have?
What damaged relationship(s) would you like to see restored? Could this proverb help you end the fighting and bring restoration?
Sometimes, ending an argument requires us to stop putting "coals on the fire". This is very difficult, especially when we are convinced we are right. Think about 2-3 conflicts you have had (or are having) in which you can stop feeding the flames.
What specific actions will you take as a result of studying this proverb? How can you surround yourself with people who will support you in this effort?