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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bad Investments Lead to Hoarding and Anxiety (Matthew 6)

What are your favorite "keepsakes"? Why are they so special to you? How would you feel if you lost them?

Why do you think it is so difficult to lose things we love?

Read Matthew 6:19-34. Choose 2-3 sentences from this passage that are most meaningful to you. Why do you like these thoughts?

In these verses, Jesus talks about storing (investing) treasures. Where are the two places he says people store their treasures? What makes these two places different?

Do you know anyone who has lost their earthly treasure? How did it happen?

In verse 25, Jesus says not to be anxious. What are the things He does not want you to worry about? Give some examples of how people worry about these things.

What do you think it means to seek God's kingdom? How can your life demonstrate that God is your king?

How can someone seek God's righteousness?

God gives treasures to everyone, but everyone's treasures are different. What are the treasures God has given to you? How do you think God wants you to invest those treasures?

What causes you to feel anxiety? What things are you afraid of losing? How can you apply verses 27-30 to your life?

What things do you think God wants you to let go of? What things do you think He wants you to pursue?

What can you do this week to help you focus on God's provision in your life?

How can you encourage those around you that need to be reminded of God's provision?

Do The Right Thing For The Right Reasons (Matthew 6)

Who is a famous person you admire? How did they become famous?

If you could become a celebrity, for what would you want to be famous?

Read Matthew 6:1. What do you think are the key words and/or phrases in this verse? How would you re-write the verse in your own words.

Read Matthew 6:2-18. What are the three "spiritual activities" Jesus talked about in these verses?

Which of these three activities is easiest for you? Which is most difficult? Why?

When have you seen someone do these (or other) spiritual activities in order to gain attention for themselves? Do you think this is a temptation for many people? Why or why not?

At what times in life do you worry about what other people think of you? What do you think causes this?

Talk about a time in your life when you were more concerned about pleasing other people than about pleasing God? If you could, what would you change about that time?

What three things could you do this week that you know would be pleasing to God?

To whom can you give something this week as a demonstration of your love for our Heavenly Father?

What is something you can give up (or abstain from) this week to make your life more pleasing to God?