Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Let Go and Let God? (Genesis 32)

Do you know anyone who had great potential, but was held back because of fear? What did their fear cause them to miss out on?

Read Genesis 32:22-30.

Jacob sent his family across the river because he was afraid of Esau. Why do you think he feared his brother? Was this a rational fear? Why or why not?

What are you most afraid of? Is your fear rational? Why or why not?

The man who wrestled with Jacob (later identified as God) was the aggressor. Why do you think God was wrestling with Jacob? What did He want to teach Jacob?

Even though He was obviously not going to win, Jacob refused to let go. This was consistent with how he had lived his life. Think about the stories you know about Jacob and make a list of the different ways he held tightly to things or grasped for things that weren't really his.

Because Jacob wouldn't let go, God wrenched his hip. How does God sometimes put our lives out of joint so He can get our attention? Why might God want to get your attention?

What are some things in life you need to let go?

God said Jacob was victorious even though he lost the wrestling match. How is it possible to win even when we lose? Are there things in life that you could lose which might cause you to have victory?

What have you learned about God from reading this story?

What have you learned about yourself from reading this story?

What do you think God wants you to change about yourself?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

All Things New (Genesis 17)

Read Genesis 17:1-8

  • What do you think God meant when he told Abraham to "Walk before me and be blameless."?
  • How would your life change if every step you took you remembered that God was watching you? Would your life be more blameless? Why or why not?
  • Abram means "exalted father" and Abraham means "father of a multitude." Why do you think God changed Abram's name to Abraham even though he only had one son at the time?
  • Why do you think Abraham believed God's promises? How do you think Abraham was able to wait so long for God to keep his promises?
  • Which promises of God are important to you? Why?
  • If God were going to start a new thing in your life, what do you think He would do?

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and rewrite it in your own words

  • Do you believe these words are descriptive of you? Why or why not?
  • What changes in your life do these verses inspire you to consider?

Read Ephesians 4:17-24

In your old life, you walked in darkness. Your new life is lived in the light of the Son of God.
  • How would you describe the "former way" of living? What are some things the old you would have done that the new you won't?
  • What old things are still lingering in your life? How can you take action to push those things out of your life?
  • If every day is the opportunity for a fresh start, how will you make tomorrow better than today?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Solve Your Problems By Working With Others (Acts 6)

When have you faced a surprising challenge? How did you address it? Who helped you?

Read Acts 6:1-7.

What was the problem in these verses? What were some of the factors that might have contributed to this problem? How do modern churches face similar problems?

If someone brought this problem to you, how would you have responded? Do you think the apostles responded correctly? Why or why not?

Why do you think the apostles didn't just solve the problem themselves? How do you think the church members felt when the apostles turned the problem over to them?

Have you ever had someone turn a problem over to you? Was it a good thing or a bad thing? How did it help you grow? What did you learn?

According to this passage, what were the qualifications of the men who were chosen by the church? Why do you think they looked for these types of people? Who do you know that has these character traits? What would need to change in your life for people to describe you with these words?

The end result of this passage is that the church grew. Why do you think the church grew once they started taking care of each other? What does this inspire you to do?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Make Every Effort To Maintain Unity (Ephesians 4)

If you had to choose one goal on which to focus the next year of your life, what would it be?

Why is it sometimes beneficial to focus our attention on one thing?

Read Ephesians 4:1-6. What do you think is the key word of this passage?

Which phrase in these verses do you find most compelling? Why?

Read verses 4-6. How would you describe a church that is "one" in purpose?

Rewrite verse 3 in your own words. Make a list of 3-5 things you can do personally to "keep the unity" among Christians.

Verse 2 lists four virtues which are important to creating unity. Which of the four is easiest for you? Which is more difficult? Why?

Who do you know that exhibits some of these virtues? What are some examples of how you've seen these virtues in action?

What do you think it means to "bear with one another?" Who do you know that you need to bear with? How will you do that?

What relationships in your life lack unity right now? How might you improve those relationships by being humble, gentle or patient?

What is one specific thing you can do to improve one of those relationships?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hear AND Do. (James 1:19)

This is a short study, designed specifically for self-directed groups who easily engage one another in meaningful discussion.

Before you begin, take a moment and have each person say one encouraging thing to the person sitting to their left.

Read James 1:19 in unison. Remind the group that the three virtues identified in this verse are central to every group's growth.

Have one person read James 1:22-25. Tell the group you'll be doing an exercise which will give them all the opportunity to be a DOER instead of just a HEARER.

Take turns. Let one person share a personal struggle they are currently having. As a group, ask questions and listen closely so you can gain a full understanding of their struggle.

One at a time, let other group members share specific truth from the Bible (no opinions here, just Biblical insight) that may be applicable to the struggle. People may share promises from the Psalms, advice from Proverbs, stories that seem to be similar, words of Christ, thoughts from the epistles, etc...

Once several people have shared God's Word, move on to another person.

At the end of your time together, have everyone who participated tell the group ONE thing they are going to DO as a result of HEARING God's Word.

Pray together. Find time during the week to encourage one another.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wrong Choices Lead Down The Path To Destruction (Matthew 7)

Talk about a time you've watched someone else choose a life path that led to destruction.

Consider these two principles about the path you choose in life: 

1. Every path leads somewhere. 
2. The path you choose determines the destination you reach.

Read Matthew 7:13-14.

If someone asked you to explain what it means to choose the narrow path and the narrow gate, what would you tell them?

Think about which life path you are walking right now. Answer the following questions about the path you are on:
  • When was the last time I made a significant, life-changing decision? What path did that decision put me on?
  • What character traits would I expect to see from people who are on the right path?
  • Who else is following the path I am on?
  • What is the defining behavior of those who are on this path with me?
  • Has following this path caused me to experience any kind of opposition? Should it?
  • What role is my relationship with Jesus playing while I walk this path?
How would you describe the wide path? Why would anyone ever choose the wide path?

Is it possible to walk the narrow path without having a relationship with Jesus? Why or why not?

How do you need to respond to this passage? What specific action will you take this week?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Persistence in Prayer: Ask, And Keep On Asking (Matthew 7)

I recently heard a great quote about persistence: "The only place success comes after quitting is in the dictionary."

When have you experienced success because you chose not to quit even though things got difficult?

Who do you know that demonstrates amazing persistence in their life?

How can learning to be persistent be beneficial in your life? Why is it better to keep working at something than to quit?

Read Luke 8:1-8. What words would you use to describe the widow in this story?

Why do you think God wants his children to be persistent when they pray? What can we learn or how can we grow by being persistent?

Read Matthew 7:7-11. Re-write verse 11 in your own words.

When have you received a good gift from God? According to this passage, what is the key to receiving good gifts from Him?

Is this passage a promise that God will give us whatever we want? Why or why not?

What requests are you going to ask God for this week?

How will you look around (seek) this week to see how God is working around you?

What opportunities has God brought into your life that might turn out to be answers to your prayers? What do you need to do in order to knock on those doors?

Take a few minutes and write out a prayer to God. Read this prayer to him every day this week. As you go through the week, make any changes to this prayer that you think God is prompting you to make.