Wednesday, April 18, 2018

20 Questions to Build Group Connections

Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

As the leader, pay attention to the conversation. Let the discussion run its course as this is how people in the group build their relationships with one another. You can use these questions, modify them or create your own.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2 Friends and 1 Enemy (2 Samuel 15-17)

The story of Absalom’s rebellion can be found in 2 Samuel 14-19 (chapter 13 also provides a little context). Today’s questions will focus mostly on chapters 15-16 which tells the story of David escaping Jerusalem before Absalom and his army arrive. We are going to explore David’s conversations with 4 men and seek to learn important lessons from these interactions.

Name 2-3 people whose character you would like your life to reflect. Specifically, what character traits do you admire in these people?

Read 2 Samuel 15:18-23. What are 4-5 words you would use to describe Ittai?

Even though he didn’t have to, Ittai chose to stay and fight with David. What actions can you take this week that are not necessary, but will be beneficial to others in your life?

Read 2 Samuel 15:32-37. Was David’s request of Hushai easy or difficult? Why? (You can read more of Hushai’s story in 2 Samuel 17:1-23)

What difficult assignment has God given you right now? Why is it difficult? What is your plan for accomplishing it?

Read 2 Samuel 16:1-4. Why did Ziba’s appearance put David in a difficult spot? What would you have done if you were David?

Read about Mephibosheth and the rest of Ziba’s account in 2 Samuel 19:24-30. How does this new information change the story?

When have you gotten a story wrong by believing the first version you heard? When has someone done this to you? Who in your life do you need to work on giving the “benefit of the doubt” instead of always believing the worst about them?

Read 2 Samuel 16:5-13. How would you have responded to Shimei?

Why do you think David was able to respond the way he did?

When are you tempted to repay evil with evil? How would your life and relationships change if you could learn to repay evil with good?

Which of these characters has made the biggest impact on your life? After studying each of these stories, what is your next step?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Finding Balance (2 Samuel 13)

Read 2 Samuel 13:1-22. What words would you use to describe this story?
Think and talk about the decisions made by the main characters in this story (Amnon, Jonadab, David). What do you think caused them to make the choices they did? What should each of them have done differently?
If you were David, what would you have done when you learned about Amnon's abuse of his sister?
If you were Absalom, what would you have done when you learned about Amnon's abuse of your sister?
Why do you think these two men responded the way they did?
Read Joshua 1:9. What would have been the "strong" and "courageous" response to Amnon's behavior?
Read 2 Samuel 13:23-39. Was Absalom justified in his response to Amnon? Why or why not?
When have you overreacted to a situation in your life? What was the result?
Often in life, we must work to find a balance between two extremes. How do you find a balance between being overly passive toward evil and overreacting toward evil?
In your spiritual life, how are struggling with passivity? How are struggling with overreaction?
What can you do this week to bring some balance into your spiritual life?
How can other people help you with this endeavor?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Crucified With Christ (Galatians 2)

When have you been sad, upset or disappointed because something in your life ended?

Why does death make most people uncomfortable?

List some examples of good, positive or healthy endings.

Read Galatians 2:20.

Which words in this verse are most powerful? Why?

How do we experience crucifixion with Jesus?

What does it mean that "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."?

How does the idea of Christ living in you make you feel? Why?

What do you think it means to "live by faith"?

To experience life "in Christ" we need to put our old self to death. What pieces of your life do you need to crucify?

What mistakes have you made in your life that you are still holding on to? Do you think it is possible to put those mistakes to death and leave them in the past? How?

Which patterns or habits exist in your life that are holding you back? How can you put those patterns or habits to death? Who can help you with that?

Does your outlook on life (your perspective) match the outlook Jesus has on life? How can someone put to death an overly negative or critical spirit?

This week, how will you remind yourself of the peace, hope and joy you have already been given through Christ?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Law of Cause and Effect (Galatians 6)

What do you think about when you hear the expression, "you reap what you sow"?

When have you experienced bad consequences as a result of making foolish decisions?

When have you experienced good consequences as a result of making wise decisions?

In His death, Jesus planted a seed on our behalf. What good consequences have you reaped as a result of Jesus' work?

Read Galatians 6:7-10.

We all know that God cannot be tricked. He always sees and knows what we are doing. However, sometimes people (including each of us) live as if God won't find out what we are doing. This is what it means to be deceived, thinking we can trick or mock God.

Knowing that God sees and knows all, what do you wish you had done differently today?

The good news is, that even though God knows what we are up to, He is still a good God. Make a list of the good things God has done for you in the past month.

Who are the people you want to do good for this week?

What are the good things you want to do for others this week?

What is something good this group can do for someone else in the next month?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Restoration Specialists (Galatians 6)

When was a time you got caught doing something you shouldn't have done?

Have you ever felt like you were stuck in life? What happened to get you to that point?

Have you ever felt stuck in sin?

Read Galatians 6:1. Give some examples of how someone might get "caught in a sin".

Think about the people you work with or who live in your neighborhood. What are the sins they are most likely to get "caught in"?

What sins have sometimes caught up to you?

What does it mean to "restore" something?

Discuss a time when you experienced a restored relationship? How did it happen? How did it feel?

Read Romans 5:10-11. Why were we God's enemies? How was our relationship with God reconciled (restored)?

How can we help others be restored in their relationship with God?

In Galatians 6, Paul says to handle restoration "gently". What do you think this means?

Who has helped you restore your relationship to God? How did they accomplish this?

Who do you know that you can help to restore? What will you do this week to gently assist them?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Set Free To Be A Servant (Galatians 5)

What are some of the rules by which you live your life?

What are some rules in life that you have chosen to ignore or disobey?

Are rules a good thing or a bad thing? Why?

Read Galatians 5:13-14. What is the main point of these verses?

What do you think it means to “satisfy your sinful nature”? How are you tempted to satisfy your sinful nature?

What do you think it means to be set free? How did God set you free? From what did He set you free?

Make a list of different ways Christians can serve one another.

How have other Christians served you in the past? What impact did that have on your life?

Paul seems to be saying that Christians should live to serve rather than live to follow rules. Do you agree? Why?

Is it possible to have a balance of serving and rules? How would you live out such a balance?

Who do you want to serve this week? How will you serve them? Who will you ask to keep you accountable for this service?