Wednesday, April 13, 2016

True Siblings of Jesus are Children of God (Mark 3)

Have you ever been so committed to finishing a project that you forgot to eat? What was the project? How did it end up?

Read Mark 3:20-21.

Why do you think Jesus’ family claimed he was “out of his mind?”

Do you think Jesus’ family agreed with Jesus’ personal mission? Why or why not?

How do you respond when people think you are “foolish” for following Jesus?

Read Acts 1:14. Notice who was in the upper room with Jesus’ followers.

What do you think changed for Jesus’ mother and brothers? What happened in your life to change your mind about Jesus?

Read Mark 3:31-35. Pay special attention to verse 35.

How would you summarize verse 35 using five words or less?

If someone asked you to teach them how to do the will of God, what would say?

How do you think you did the will of God today? How could you have done better today?

What is one area of your life that needs to be more in line with God’s will. How can you work on that area this week? Who can help you with this?

Who can you encourage in their spiritual walk this week?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Are you a Fan or Follower of Jesus? (Mark 3)

What does it mean to be a "fan" of someone? Is it a good or bad thing? Why?

What does it mean to "follow" someone? How are the two similar? How are they different?

Read Mark 3:7-19.

Make a list of all the characters in this story. With which characters do you most identify? Why?

Why do you think people came from so far away to see Jesus? How far would you walk to see Jesus? If you traveled that far, what would you want from Him?

If you could ask Jesus to do one thing for you today, what would it be?

Read through the list of the apostles names. Which apostles do you know the most about?

How would you have felt if you had been one of those selected? What questions would you have had for Jesus?

Why do you think Jesus chose Judas Iscariot to be one of His apostles? What does this selection teach you about Jesus?

Read verse 14 again. What is the one thing that was expected from the new apostles (if you can, look at several translations to see the different words that are used)? Do you think Jesus has this same expectation of you? How can you "be with" or "accompany" Jesus?

What do you think is the biggest barrier that keeps people from following Jesus? What barriers keep you from following Jesus?

Go back and read Mark 1:16-20.

When Jesus first called the fishermen, they immediately left their nets, boats and families behind to follow Him. If you are going to follow Jesus, what do you need to leave behind?

What 2-3 things will you do this week to enable you to follow Jesus more closely?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Open Your Hand (Mark 3)

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Read Mark 3:1-6. Make a list of all the characters in this story. For each character, choose three words which describe them well.
Do you think Jesus knew the Pharisees were watching him? Do you think everyone else knew? Why or why not?
When was a time when you felt people were watching and judging you? How did you deal with it?
Why do you think Jesus made the man with the bad hand stand in front of everyone? How do you think the man felt with everyone looking at him?
What flaws of yours do you try to hide from everyone around you? Why? Why is it difficult to talk about our shortcomings?
Read James 5:16. How do you feel about this verse? What specific steps should people take to apply this verse?
What words in verse five are used to describe Jesus' emotions? Do you think you have ever made Jesus feel that way? Why?
How does Jesus feel about you today? Read Romans 5:8. What did we do to earn Jesus' love?
The man in this story had to stretch out his hand in order to be healed by Jesus. Stretching out our hands often signifies letting go of something. We all have habits, hurts and hangups which we need to let go.
What do you need to let go of in order to experience the fullness of Jesus healing?
What one thing will you do this week in response to this study?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jesus, The Celebrity (Palm Sunday)

What is the closest you've ever been to a celebrity? What did you do or say? Was it a good experience or a bad experience?

Near the end of his life, Jesus was a celebrity of sorts. Why do you think this was?

As a group, read Matthew 21:1-11.

Read Jesus' instructions in verses 2-3. How would you have felt if he gave those instructions to you?

Why do you think the disciples obeyed him?

Why do you think Jesus chose to ride a donkey instead of a horse into Jerusalem?

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the crowd treated him like a king. In your opinion, what did they expect him to do next?

Undoubtedly, many people were disappointed when Jesus didn't fulfill their expectations. 

Have you ever known someone who was disappointed when God didn't meet their expectations? 

What are some unrealistic expectations we sometimes have of God?

What can we do to keep our expectations of God rooted in truth? How can the time we spend in God's Word influence this?

Which of these titles do you feel is the best description of this passage? Explain your answer to the group.

  • The Humility of Jesus 
  • Obeying When You Don't Understand 
  • Misinformed Masses 
  • How Not to Be Disappointed With God 

What is one thing you are taking away from this passage and this discussion?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Last Supper (John 13)

When have you been extremely motivated to accomplish a task? What was the task? What motivated you?

What types of things usually motivate you in life? Why?

What types of things often "de-motivate" you in life? Why?

The events at the end of Jesus' life were of extreme importance, but they were certainly very difficult. In addition to a horribly painful death, Jesus knew that accomplishing His mission would require him to be betrayed by a friend, denied by a closer friend, and abandoned by all his friends. Yet, John 13 tells us that He loved them all, even to the end. John 13:1-3 provides an insight into the motivation that enabled Jesus to accomplish all he had come to do.

As a group, read John 13:1-5. How do you think the disciples felt as Jesus washed their feet? How would you have felt?

John 13:1 says that Jesus knew "his hour had come". Talk about a time when a sense of urgency has motivated you to accomplish something.

Should Christians have a sense of urgency about anything? Explain.

Read John 13:3. Jesus was certain about who He was, what the Father had given Him, and where He was going. This certainty motivated him to do all the Father had commissioned him to accomplish.

Consider what you can be certain about:
What has the Father given you?
Who are you? (who does God say you are?)
Where are you going?

Can these truths help motivate you to do all the Father has commissioned you to accomplish?

What do you need to accomplish this week? How can this group help?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jesus did the work we couldn't do (Hebrews 4)

What is the hardest work you have ever done? What is the greatest rest you have every experienced?
Read Hebrews 4:10. Rewrite the verse in your own words.
When did God rest? What was the work He was resting from? If He wasn't tired, why do you think he rested? (If you can't come up with the perfect answer, that's okay. This is a question that many people view differently.)
What do you think it means to enter into God's rest?
From what works does God's rest provide relief?
Read Revelation 14:13. While this verse may not be an exact parallel, it is connected to Hebrews 4:10. What does this verse teach about entering God's rest?
How much good does someone have to do in order to please God? How much bad does someone have to do in order to disappoint God?
Read Isaiah 64:6. How do our good works appear to God? Why do you think this is true?
Make a short list of some of the "good works" people do which they think will earn favor with God.
Is it possible for anyone to do enough good that they could earn their way to heaven? Why or why not?
What did Jesus do to make it possible for us to rest from our works of righteousness?
In heaven, we'll have full and complete rest from trying to work for righteousness. How can we enjoy God's rest right now?
Hint: God's rest doesn't mean we sit back and do nothing; it does mean that we can find joy instead of obligation in everything we do!
In what activities do you want to find joy this week? How will accomplish that goal?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Jesus offers new habits, patterns, desires and plans (Mark 2)

What is the oldest thing you own? What is the newest thing you own?
Read Mark 2:18-22.
How do you feel about fasting? How often do you fast (if ever)? Why (or why not)?
In this passage, Jesus is less concerned with fasting and more concerned with the idea of life-change. In these verses, He emphasizes the superiority of His new life over the old life of sin.
What do you think is the point Jesus is making in verse 21?
What do you think is the point Jesus is making in verse 22?
How does your old life not FIT with the new life Jesus offers?
Prior to salvation, we all have habits, patterns, desires and plans. Think about each of these and discuss how they change after someone meets Christ.
What are the old life's habits? What are the new life's habits?
What are the old life's patterns? What are the new life's patterns?
What are the old life's desires? What are the new life's desires?
What are the old life's plans? What are the new life's plans?
How can holding on to old ways keep someone from receiving something new? Why are people sometimes afraid of letting go of the old?
What are the old things in your life which you want to let go? What would help you to let go of these things?
What new things can you accept from Jesus to replace the old you are letting go?
What is one thing you will do this week in response to this study?