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?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Don't Be Stupid! (Proverbs 12)

When was the last time you were disciplined (work/ school/ home) for making a mistake? How did it help or hurt you?
When was the last time you had to discipline someone else? How did it hurt or help them?
Why do people not enjoy discipline?
When has someone corrected you in a loving way? How did you respond?
Read Proverbs 12:1.
This proverb consists of two statements that make essentially the same point. Write a third statement in your own words that communicates the same idea as this verse.
How do you feel about the word "stupid"? Why do you think the Bible uses such a strong word? How can you avoid being stupid?
How have you learned or grown because of the correction you received from someone else?
Read each of the following verses, noticing particularly what they say about correction:
  • Proverbs 6:32
  • Proverbs 10:17
  • Proverbs 13:18
  • Proverbs 15:10
  • Proverbs 15:31-32
Make a list of five benefits people can receive if they listen to correction.
Read the entire chapter of today's proverb (whatever the date is, read that chapter of Proverbs).
Which verse or verses provided corrective advice for your life? How can you put that correction into action?

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?