Tuesday, December 11, 2018

All I Want For Christmas: Generosity (Matthew 2:9-12)

What gift are you most excited about giving this Christmas?

How would you define “generosity”?

Read Matthew 2:9-12. Make a list of the five most important words in these verses. Talk about what makes these words significant.

Do you think the Wise Men were generous? Why or why not?

Why do you think the Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus? How do you think these gifts were used by Jesus and his family?

Did Jesus deserve these gifts? Why or why not?

Did Jesus need these gifts? Why or why not?

Does Jesus need gifts from you? Does Jesus deserve gifts from you? Why or why not?

What gifts do you have that you can give Jesus?

Read Matthew 25:31-46. What do these verses teach about generosity?

Read verse 40 again. According to this verse, our treatment of others is a gift we give to Jesus.

How would your relationships change if you began thinking of your treatment of others as a gift to Jesus?

How can you treat your spouse and/or children (or parents) generously this week? How can you treat your co-workers generously this week? How can you treat your friends generously this week? How can you treat your neighbors generously this week?

How can you treat your enemies generously this week?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

All I Want For Christmas: Contentment (Matthew 2)

What are you searching for in life?


Read Matthew 2:1-12. What was everyone searching for?


How do people search for God today?


What can you do to help people find God?


Why did the Wise Men want to find Jesus?


Why did Herod want to find Jesus?


When was the last time you searched for someone so you could give them something?


When was the last time you searched for someone so you could honor them?


When was the last time you searched for someone so you could get something from them?


Do most people search for God so they can give something to Him or so they can get something from Him? Give examples if you can.


How does giving help develop contentment?


What do you have that you can give to God? What does it mean to give your trust to God?


Read Philippians 4:11-13. How did Paul give his trust to God?


Read Philippians 4:19. Does this promise encourage you to trust God? Why or why not?


What can you give away to God or to others this week?

What will you do this week to cultivate more contentment in your life?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

All I Want For Christmas: Gratitude (Luke 1)

What is the most unexpected event you have experienced this week? How did you respond? Did it cause you to be grateful? Why or why not?

This story has three pieces. The first piece is Mary's conversation with an angel. You can read this portion in Luke 1:26-38. The second piece is Mary's conversation with her cousin, Elizabeth. You can read this portion in Luke 1:39-45. The final piece is Mary's conversation with God. You can read this portion in Luke 1:46-55.

How would you describe the swing in emotions Mary was experiencing during this time? What might have caused her to be anxious or afraid? What might have caused her to be joyful? What might have caused her to be angry? What might have caused her to  be at peace?

How would you describe Elizabeth's conversation with Mary?

Who do you know that blesses you whenever you are around them?

What can you do this week to be a blessing to the people around you?

What is your favorite phrase in Mary's prayer (vs.46-55)? Why?

Which phrases recognize God's strength? Which phrases recognize God's mercy? 
 
How have you experienced God's strength and mercy in your life?

What did Mary say in her prayer about God's provision for her and for Israel?

How has God provided for you this week? This month? This year?

Have everyone in the room share 2-3 reasons they are grateful to God.

Challenge everyone who is willing to take a gratitude challenge in which they commit to contact one another every day (text, email, call, etc.) for the sole purpose of sharing one reason they are thankful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Spirit Filled People Submit To One Another (Ephesians 5)

When you think about the Holy Spirit, what are the first thoughts you have?  How do you think the Holy Spirit works in people's lives?

The word for spirit in the New Testament is "pneuma" which also means "breath" (think "pneumonia"). Is it okay to call the Spirit of God the "breath of God?"  Why or why not? How does the idea of breathing help explain our relationship with the Holy Spirit?

What other types of "spirits" can replace the Holy Spirit in our life?  (influences, urges, thoughts, desires, inclinations, other people, etc...)

When have you found yourself in a difficult situation because you weren't paying attention?  How did you fix it? What did you learn?

As a group, read Ephesians 5:15-21.

What do you think it means to "be careful how you live?" (some translations say, "pay attention to your life")

How can someone make the most of every opportunity in life?  How should a Christian do this differently than someone else?

Verse 18 is a comparison between two ways of living.  Being controlled by "wine" leads to evil deeds. What does being controlled by the Holy Spirit lead to?

Read verses 19-20. Use your own words to describe what these verses say about the spirit-controlled life.

What do you think it means to "submit?" What are some negative responses people have to the idea of submission?

Someone who is controlled by the Holy Spirit will submit to others.  Discuss the following questions about submission.
  • To whom should you submit?
  • To whom should you not submit? Why not?
  • Are there times when submission is wrong?
  • Why is it difficult to submit to someone else?

Read Philippians 2:5-11.  How did Jesus submit? How can submission make us like Jesus?  How does our submission demonstrate our relationship with Jesus?

What is one area of your life that would benefit from a more submissive attitude?  How will you work on this?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Using Your Gifts As A Group (1 Corinthians 12)

What is the worst injury you have ever suffered? How did it impact your life?


Which of the following body parts would be worst to lose? Why?
(arm, leg, nose, ear, eye, mouth)


Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. Have each person talk about which verse is their favorite.


What spiritual gifts do you think are critical for the body of Christ to function well?


What do you think are the "weaker parts" mentioned in verse 22?


As a group, read 1 Corinthians 12:18 out loud together.


Spend time as a group talking about each others' gifts.
First, have each person share what they think their gifts are.
Then take a moment to focus the whole group on each individual and
have 2-3 people share how that person is gifted.


God gave us gifts so we could spread love, meet needs and influence change.


How can your group use the gifts you have to spread God's love in your community?


How can your group use the gifts you have to meet needs at your church?


How can your group use the gifts you have to influence change in one another?


Create a group "to-do" list. Based on the gifts God has given you,
identify 5 goals you want to accomplish as a group before the end of 2018.

Pray that God will empower you and encourage you to accomplish these goals.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Jesus Took Your Karma For You (John 9)

Read John 9:1-2. Why did the disciples assume this man's blindness was the result of sin?

When have you felt like God was punishing you for something you did wrong?

When have you felt like God was rewarding you for something you did right?

Read John 9:3. How were God's works going to be displayed in the life of the blind man?

Did this man deserve to be blind? Why or why not? Did he deserve to have sight? Why or why not? Before you were born, what did you do to deserve sight?  Did this man deserve to have God's work displayed through him? Why or why not?

When has God's work been displayed in your life?

Read 1 Peter 2:24. What did Jesus accomplish when he took your sins upon himself on the cross?

Think about some of the bad things you have done in your life. How has God protected you or delivered you from the consequences you should have received?

Make a list of blessings and gifts God has given you that you did not deserve.

How would you describe the debt that you owe to Jesus? How do you suppose you can repay that debt?

Knowing what Jesus did for you, how can you "pay it forward?"

Identify one person in your life that hasn't earned your good will, but to whom you will demonstrate kindness this week.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Is God in control? Or are you? (Acts 17)

What is the most important speech you have ever given?

If you were given five minutes to speak to the U.S. Senate, what would you say?

Read Acts 17:16-31.

How do you think Paul felt before speaking to such an important group of men?

Which part of Paul's speech is your favorite? Why?

Sometimes we act as if God needs something from us, but in verses 24-25, Paul says God doesn't "need" anything. Why should this thought encourage us? How does this knowledge build your trust in God?

Why is it sometimes hard to trust God?

Would you rather control your own destiny or have God control it? Why?

What is going on in your life right now that you cannot control? Read Isaiah 7:4. How should you behave if you are trusting God?

What is going on in your life that you can control? How will you faithfully steward those opportunities?

According to verse 27, God wants men to "reach out for him." What do you think it means to "reach out for God?"

How do you "reach out for God?"

Read verse 31. One common destiny awaits all men. Death and judgment.

After the judgment, what destiny awaits those who did reach out for God? What destiny awaits those who did not?

How should this truth change your life? How should it change your relationship with God? How should it change your relationship with the people around you?