Discussion Questions for August 20, 2017

Acts 7:51-8:8

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does the theme "trusting in every circumstance" fit into the overall scheme of the series?

3. Read Acts 6:3-8, how does Luke describe Stephen?

4. What does Luke tell us about Stephen’s response to the angry mob in vs.55-60?

5. What is the result of Stephen’s death for the Jerusalem church (in 8:1-2)?

How does it apply?

1. Why is it difficult for us to trust in God's provision during difficult circumstances?

2. In what ways do we functionally deny the truth of Stephen’s story when we meet difficult circumstances or struggle in our Ongoing Spiritual Transformation process? 

3. Trusting God's provision in tough times does not mean the absence of grief – so what does it look like? 

4. How have you grown in your ability to trust in the hard times? 

5. What would help you to keep growing in this area?

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Discussion Questions for August 13, 2017

John 13:34-35; Matthew 5:43-48

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does the theme "love actually" fit into the over all scheme of the series?

3. What's the big idea of Matthew 5:43-48?

4. Why does Jesus tell us not to hate our enemies? 

5. What does it mean that we are to be perfect like God is perfect?

6. What are followers of Jesus supposed to be known by? (John 13:34-35)

How does it apply?

1. Knowing that we are to be known for our love, is that an accurate representation of who we are?

2. How can I better love my neighbor?

3. In what ways can the Church as a whole better love our neighbors? 

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Discussion Questions for August 6, 2017

Romans 6:1-23

What does it mean?

1. Talk through the progression of the Twenty 20 series in your own words.

2. Romans six begins with two questions.  What issue is Paul introducing with those questions?

3. In his next question Paul begins to answer the questions from v.1. Why according to Paul can we not 'go on sinning so that grace may abound'?

4. In v.4-11, Paul compares the conversion of a believer to what event in Jesus' life?

5. What does Paul mean by 'obedient from the heart' in v.17?  What other kind of obedience is there?

6. What is the 'fruit' of our old way of life according to v.21-23?

7. What is the fruit of a life that has been bought out of its slavery to sin?

How does it apply?

1. What are some ways your thinking about God and the Christian Life has been adjusted since you came to trust Jesus?  Recently?

2. Does a clearer picture of God, or what He's done for us, change our feelings?  How?  Can you give any examples?

3. How did thinking about Christ lead to love for Christ in your life?  Did it lead to new patterns of decision making?

4. How does that growth continue today?  Where is God shaping you now?  How can you cooperate with God more in that process?

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Discussion Questions for July 30, 2017

Romans 3:19-26

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does being declared righteous by faith fit into the over all scheme of the series?

3. How many people were justified by obeying the law according to Paul in v.20?

4. What does Paul mean by the "righteousness of God" in v.21?

5. What is the relationship, then, between the Law and the Prophets and the righteousness of God?

6. What is propitiation in v.25?  How does it help us?

7. How would you summarize Paul’s point in Romans 3:19-26?

8. What does it tell us about God’s character? 

How does it apply?

1. If we are declared righteous by faith, not by works, how should we view our brothers and sisters in Christ? 

2. In what ways do we minimize our being declared righteous?  

3. How would a fuller understanding of your righteous standing in Christ change the way you live? Relate to others? Feel?   

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Discussion Questions for July 23, 2017

1 Cor. 15:14-19; Matt. 28:1-10

What does it mean?

1. Where have we been thus far in the series? 

2. How does the resurrection fit into the over all scheme of the series?

3. Why is death an enemy and how does Jesus' resurrection address that?

4. What is Matthew trying to convey to us about the reaction of the women? Why is this significant? 

5. Why does the angel use the word "disciples" and Jesus use the word "brothers"? Is this significant? 

6. What's the big idea of Matthew 28:1-10?

7. Was the resurrection necessary? What is the crucifixion without the resurrection? 

 

How does it apply?

1. Why is the resurrection so significant? (cf. 1 Corinthians 15 & 1 Peter 1:3) 

2. In what ways do we minimize the resurrection?  

3. Why is it important to see how the resurrection has implications both for today and our eternity?

4. How does the reality of the resurrection change the way we live today?   

5. How can we live with more confidence and urgency rather than indifference and disinterest regarding the resurrection?


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What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize where we have been thus far in our series? 

2. How does this particular section fit in to the overall flow of the ideas we have seen in Scripture?

3. Why did Jesus need to die?

4. What is the tension between God's forgiveness and justice? 

5. Could God have saved another way? (Cf. Matthew 26:39, Hebrews 2:14-17)

6. Was it necessary for Jesus to live 30+ years as a human, could he have come to die for us in an instant? 

7. What does the cross actually accomplish— for our justification? For our sanctification?

How does it apply?

1. What are the benefits of the cross for us? 

2. What are some ways that we can know that we are not trusting in the cross for our salvation as fully as we could?  For OST?

3. If Jesus paid the price completely for our salvation, what then is left for us to do?  

 

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Discussion Questions for July 9, 2017

What does it mean?

How would you summarize where we have been thus far in our series?  How does this particular section fit in to the overall flow of the ideas we have seen in Scripture?

John 1:14-18

1. What's the big idea of John 1:14-18?

2. What does it mean that no one has ever seen God? Why does John bring this up here? 

3. How are Moses and Jesus being contrasted?

Hebrews 2:14-17

1. Why did Jesus have to be made like his brothers? 

2. What does it mean that Jesus became a merciful and faithful high priest? 

3. What does the author want us to get from 2:18? 

Hebrews 4:14-16 

1. What does it mean that Jesus is the great high priest?

2. Why do you think the author emphasizes that Jesus understands our temptations? Yet never sinned?

3. What does it mean that he “passed through the heavens”?

 

How does it apply?

1. Which aspect of the incarnation do we typically diminish? His humanity or his divinity?

2. In what ways does Christ's humanity bring us comfort?

3. In what ways does Christ's divinity bring us comfort?

4. How does the incarnation give us a picture of who God is?

5. How does the incarnation, specifically the temptations that Christ endured, affect the way you go throughout the encounters of your life?

 

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Life Group Questions for July 2, 2017

John 1:1-18

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize John 1:1-18?

2. How does John describe the relationship between the "Word" and God?

3. How does John describe the relationship between the "Word" and humanity?

4. Define the 'world' as John is using the term here.  Describe the relationship between the "Word" and the world?

5. Who are the children of God?

6. How would you paraphrase v. 14? Why might this verse be difficult to fathom for the original audience?

7. If the Jews already believed in God, why does John say "he has made him known" (v. 18)

8. What is the big idea of 1:1-18?

How does it apply?

1. How does this passage fit in our series?

2. How does Jesus' coming into the worldfulfill what had been promised?

3. What is the tension in this text? How have other people tried to solve this tension?  How do we solve it?

4. How does this text give us a bigger picture of who God is?

5. What emotions strike you when you read this passage?

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Study Questions for June 25, 2017

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize God’s story thus far?

2. How would you describe the role of the Prophets in God’s story?

3. How does Isaiah describe what the ‘servant’ will be like?  Is there anything confusing or contradictory about this description?

4. What does it mean that “kings shall shut their mouth because of him?” Why will their mouths be shut?

5. Why was the servant pierced (v.5), and what was the result?

6. Who is the “he” in verse 10? What is "he" doing?

7. What does “he shall see his offspring” mean in v. 10?

8. How is it that the servant is “high and lifted up” and exalted while also being despised, rejected, pierced, etc.?

9. What’s the big idea of Isaiah 52:13-53:12? How would you summarize it in your own words?

How does it apply?

1. How does this text give us a clearer picture of who Jesus is?

2. How do we better understand mercy through this passage?

3. Does the Isaiah’s specificity give you any greater confidence in Jesus?  How?

4. Does it give you greater confidence for God’s faithfulness in your life?  How?

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Life Group Questions for June 18, 2017

What does it mean?

Genesis 3:14-15

1.     Who is the woman’s seed? Is this physical or spiritual descendants or both?

2.    What does Moses indicate in this passage about Eve’s seed?  What impact would he had hoped this would have on his readers?

Micah 5

1. What is the promise in v. 2?

2. What is the context in which the "ruler" is going to be
arriving in (v.1)?

3. How does Micah contrast Bethlehem with the ruler (v.2)?

4. What is the purpose of the ruler (v.3)?

2 Samuel 7

1. What does God promise to David?

2. In what sense is there an immediate fulfillment to God's promises and in what sense is there a future fulfillment?

3. In what sense has the promise of v. 16 been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled today?

Psalm 2

1. Who is Psalm 2 talking about? Particularly v. 7-9

2. What is the big idea of Psalm 2? What is being promised?

3. How is the reign of the Lord's anointed characterized?

How does it apply?

1. How do these passages help us see a greater unity in Scripture?

2. What do these texts show us about who God is?

3. How does seeing prophecies fulfilled in Jesus increase our faith?

4. How does the truth of the marvelous, unfolding plan of God cause you to celebrate and be in awe of God this week?

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Discussion Questions for June 11, 2017

Ex. 20:1-21 and Gen 15:1-6.

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize God’s story thus far?

2. What is Abram struggling to comprehend in 15:1-5?

3. Why is God’s promise difficult for Abram to trust?

4. What does God promise Abram?

5. How will God’s promise to Abram be fulfilled?

6. In what sense will Abram’s descendants be innumerable? 

7. What is the importance of an heir?

8. How does Abram’s perspective change? 

9. How is Abram made righteous? 

10. What is Abram’s “action” in 15:1-6?

11. How would you paraphrase Genesis 15:1-6?

How does it apply?

1. What does this text teach us about God?

2. Where are you tempted to try to earn God’s favor?

3. How do we balance “saved by faith” vs. easy believism?

4. How would our lives look differently if we relied more fully on Jesus’ work and less on ours?

5. How can we celebrate God’s united, unchanging plan of salvation this week?

 

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Discussion Questions for June 4, 2017

Exodus 2:23-3:22.  Exodus 12:1-51.

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize the big ideas thus far seen in Genesis 1,2,3 and 12?

2. In Exodus 2, why does the text mention that the king of Egypt died?

3. In Exodus 2:23-25, why do you think God’s covenant is mentioned at this point in the narrative?

4. Knowing that the readers of Exodus were the generation of Israelites about to enter the Promised Land, how would the words of 2:24-25 have been a comfort to them?

5. How would you summarize God’s words to Moses in chapter 3? What are some of the key ideas God expresses to Moses?

6. In 3:13-22, God said to Moses “I am who I am”. What does this mean?

7. In Exodus 12, what is the significance of God requiring a mark on the door? Why did God strike the firstborn in Egypt?

8. Why was this rescue to become such a critical moment for Israel? Explain.

9. How would you paraphrase Exodus 12?

 

How does it apply?

1. Why does God choose unlikely people like Moses and work through them?

2. Do you ever feel inadequate to live out your experience of Christ? In what ways?

3. In the midst of our suffering, how aware are you that God is present and hears, remembers, sees and knows?

4. Has it ever felt like God has forgotten you in your life?  Explain. 

5. What attributes of God did you see in the text that will change the way we pray, think, speak or live this week?

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Life Group Questions for May 28, 2017

Genesis 12

What does it mean?

1. What was the big idea from Genesis chapters 6 to 9: the story of Noah and the flood?

2. Now in chapter 12:1-3, what was the essence of God’s call to Abram?

3. Describe the agreement that God is making with Abram - Who is included in it? Who is not included?  What are the terms of the agreement? What are the promises?

4. Why was Abram an unlikely candidate to be the father of a nation? What is the payoff for God in choosing such a seemingly ill-equipped patriarch?     

5. How would you summarize Abram’s response in vs. 4-9?

6. How did God test Abram? Beginning in v.10? Did he pass?

7. Describe Abram’s failure?  What was its core?

8. Give your own summary heading to each section – vs.1-9, and vs.10-20

How does it apply?

1. Have you ever felt like an unlikely candidate to be used by God?  Explain.  

2. Which part of Abram’s story is most encouraging to you? 

3. If we see this pattern of God’s choosing unlikely ambassadors as culminating in the Church – does it change the way we see the Church?  Or the way we see holiness?  Or the way you see God?

4. Abram went.  His faith was proven by his going.  What is God asking of us?  To whom is He calling us to go?  Are we going? 

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Life Group Questions for May 21, 2017

Read Genesis chapters 6-9

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize Genesis 1?  Genesis 2? Genesis 3?

2. Does 6:1-7 seem to be wrapping up previous chapters or introducing what’s to follow?  Explain.

3. How would you describe Moses summary of the culture that exists in Genesis 6? Explain the problem and the consequences.

4. Who are “the sons of God” and “the daughters of man” and why is their behavior characterized as sinful?

5. What does Moses share with his readers about God’s view of sin?  What does the text mean when it says God’s heart was grieved? 

6. How does the description of Noah and his sons differ from the descriptions of those around them and why is it important?

7. How does Noah demonstrate his walking with God? What is Moses communicating through the depth of specific instructions God gave to Noah?

8. Why is Moses so specific concerning the length of time for each event in the flood?

9. Do you think that the fact that God shut the door has any importance?  And opened it? Explain. Why did God promise never again to cut off all flesh or destroy the earth by flood?

10. How do you articulate the big idea God was illustrating to Noah?

How does it apply?

1. As you reflect on the culture around us, do you have a growing discontent for the sin that exists in our personal lives?  Around us?  How do we echo God’s stance without executing judgment? 

2. How do you practice a life that seeks to trust God in the small stuff?  If we trust God for eternity, is there disconnect between the way we trust Him in our relationships, marriage, in our kids, in our career moves?  Explain.

3. What is that area of anxiety that keeps you up at night?  What does it look like to reflect patience in His timing that differs from simple passivity?  How can you trust and obey like Noah in the midst of that issue?  How can we more readily reflect joy in His plan?

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Life Group Questions for May 14, 2017

Genesis 3:14-15

What does it mean?

1. What is the big idea of Genesis 1? Genesis 2? Genesis 3?

2. Who has Moses indicated the serpent to be? Explain 

3. Who is God cursing in v14 and how should we understand its implications?

4. What does the term “enmity” mean?

5. Between what parties is there enmity, as suggested in this text?

6. Who is ultimately responsible for the hostility between the offspring of the Serpent and the offspring of Eve?

7. Who is the woman’s seed? Is this physical or spiritual descendants or both?

8. What does Moses indicate in this passage about Eve’s seed?  What impact would he had hoped this would have on his readers?

9. How would you paraphrase Genesis 3:14-15?

How does it apply?

1. If we read Genesis 3:15 as a preview of the Jesus coming into the world as one of us, planned even before the foundation of the world, what confidence and trust can we have in the sovereign plan of God in our everyday circumstances?

2. Do you see Satan as a real enemy? In what way can we see the resemblance in the lie told to Eve, and his ever-tempting adversary, continuously tempting us to not trust God?

3. How do we react given the conflict between the serpent’s seed and the women’s seed?  How do we respond to the brokenness around us?

 

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Life Group Questions for May 7, 2017

Genesis 3:1-24

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize Genesis 1? How would you summarize Genesis 2?

2. Why do you think Moses starts Chapter 3 so abruptly?

3. How would you summarize Genesis 3:1-5? 

4. Describe the process of Eve’s temptation.  What are the key factors according to Moses? 

5. When exactly does Eve sin?  How does she sin? 

6. What did Adam and Eve become aware of immediately when their eyes were opened?

7. How would you summarize the next section—Genesis 3:7-13?

8. Does God know what had happened?  If so, what is the purpose of His questions?

9. What was Adam and Eve’s response to God’s question as to why they ate?  Anything you see that’s missing?

10. How would you summarize Genesis 3:14-24?

11. What was the result of sin? For the serpent? For Eve? For Adam?

12. Why did God make Adam and Eve leave the garden?

13. How would you describe the big idea of Genesis 3?

How does it apply?

1. Where do you most clearly see the brokenness of the fall?  On the news, in yourself, in your family, in other relationships, at work…?

2. The serpent uses half-truths to tempt Eve.  How does Satan use half-truths today to tempt us away from trusting God?  What are some examples?

3. Pick some overt sins and trace them back to how they begin as a lack of trust in God’s provision. (stealing, lying, adultery, murder, gossip…)

4. Where are you tempted to believe that God’s provision for you is not best?

5. Finish this sentence: The more clearly I see the brokenness (in me and around me), the more I will...

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Life Group Questions for April 30, 2017

Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize Genesis 1?

2. Read chapter 2.  What are the big Ideas of chapter 2?

3. What is the connection between Genesis 1 and 2?

4. What does it mean to be created in the “image of God”?

5. What are some of the unique privileges and responsibilities entrusted to God’s image bearers?

6. Why are we called to “be fruitful and multiply”?

7. How do we exercise “dominion” over the earth?

8. How does the author intend us to view the account of the 7th day in light of the image of God?

9. Compare the description of the land in 2:4-6 with what we read in chapter 1.

10. In v.7, what seems to be Moses’ point in telling us that Adam is made from dust?

11. What details does Moses include in telling us about the Garden and what is he hoping the reader hears?

12. When Moses quotes God and says, “it is not good for man to be alone” are we to understand that God had a sudden epiphany?  What is Moses trying to show us here?  About ourselves and about God?

13. How would you summarize Genesis 2?

How does it apply?

1. Why does God’s intimate involvement in creating all humans in His image matter? What difference should it make as we interact with those around us?

2. What does it look like to believe that God modeled rest for us and that we can rest in Him?

3. How do other voices in our culture potentially lead us away from seeing each other as made in the image of God?  How does our culture delineate value and worth?

4. In what ways do we dishonor the image of God in ourselves and others? What kinds of thoughts, behaviors or attitudes devalue or belittle God’s design for the way he intended it?

5. Who are those that are hardest for you to treat as valuable?  Have you ever been uncomfortable or felt devalued or devalued others? Explain.

6. How can we increasingly demonstrate that we reflect God to the world around us and view others as made in his image?  What words or phrases do you use?  How can we celebrate the truth that men and women share a common identity and purpose and value before God?

7. What would a greater appreciation for being made in His image do to increase our experience of God and relational intimacy with Him?

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Life Group Questions for April 23, 2017

Genesis 1:1-31

What does it mean?

1. How would you paraphrase 1:1?

2. What does Moses intend to communicate through the language “heavens and earth”?

3. How would you paraphrase 1:2?

4. Where did the waters Moses describe come from? Hint: what does Moses tell us in v 1?

5. What big themes do you think Moses is trying to convey in his description of what God does in the 6 days?

6. When God declares things “good”, in what sense does Moses want us to understand that they are “good”?

7. How is the description of human beings different from the other creation and creatures?

How does it apply?

1. How do you “feel” about Genesis 1?  Be candid.

2. How did you arrive at your understanding of Genesis 1?  Personal reading?  Explanation of others?

3. What questions do you have about Genesis 1?

4. If we get the big idea(s) of Genesis 1, how do you think the author hoped it would impact our faith?

5. How does your understanding of Genesis 1 impact your day to day walk with Jesus?

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Life Group Questions for April 9, 2017

2 Peter 3:14-18
What does it mean?

1. Reviewing 2 Peter 1:1-7, Peter writes that because of Gods’ promises, Christians “may become partakers of the divine nature,” and escape from “the corruption of the world.”  What does he then encourage believers to do to nurture their own holy living?

2. Reviewing 2 Peter 1:16-21, what does Peter mean when he writes “we made known to you the power and coming” and did not “follow cleverly devised myths”? 

3. Reviewing 2 Peter 2:1-16, how will false teachers bring in “destructive heresies”?  To whom are they secretive?  What do the phrases ‘hearts trained in greed’ and ‘eyes…insatiable for sin’ communicate about these false teachers? 

4. Reviewing 2 Peter 3:1-7, what was the argument against the return of Christ that the scoffers/false teachers were using?  What historical events did Peter use to refute the idea that all things continue as they were from the beginning?

5. Reviewing 2 Peter 3:8-13, what reasons does Peter offer for a delay in Christ's return? Why is God delaying judgment?

6. In 2 Peter 3:14, what does Peter urge his readers to make every effort to do? Explain.

7. In v. 15, what does Peter hope his readers consider regarding Jesus’ delay in returning?

8. What does Peter want his readers to understand about Paul and his letters? What does Peter mean by saying some“twist the Scriptures to their own destruction”?

9. In closing, how did Peter instruct his readers to be on guard? What were his final instructions? How did he intend his readers to grow in the “grace and knowledge of Christ?”

How does it apply?

1. Peter has emphasized a relationship between knowledge and godliness. What role does knowledge play in our ongoing spiritual transformation?

2. How has your knowledge of Jesus grown lately?  What helped you grow in your knowledge of God?

3. After exploring 2 Peter and the truth of the 2nd coming of Jesus, what behaviors would be appropriate to accompany that truth?   How do you live differently because Jesus is coming back?  How might it change life today, tomorrow, next week…?

4. If you knew you were going to die soon, what facts would you want to relay to others?  To whom?  Why?  What connection do those facts have to your heart?  Now, take a minute to write out your own last words.

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Life Group Questions for April 2, 2017

2 Peter 3:11-13
What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize 2 Peter 3:8-10?

2. What are “these things… to be dissolved” referring to? 

3. According to the text, what characteristics does Peter have in mind when he says “what sort of people ought you to be”? 

4. In what way are Peters readers “waiting for” the day of God? In what way are the “hastening” it?

5. In what way is Peter using the language of “set on fire” and “melt as they burn” in this passage? What significance is Peter communicating?

6. What are the “heavenly bodies”?

7. What is “His promise” that we are waiting for?

8. What characteristic does Peter use to describe the “new heavens and new earth” and what is its significance to Peter? Explain.

9. How would you put 2 Peter 3:11-13 in your own words?

How does it apply?

1. What are the different ways we motivate people in our sphere of influence? Do you tend to motivate through positive or negative means? How has Peter been motivating us to live our lives differently? Explain.

2. How should our understanding of this judgment (“seeing then”) motivate us? 

3. How have you been contemplating Jesus’ 2nd coming more? 

4. Describe the ways Jesus’ 2nd coming influences your view of life. How does it affect your feelings, your actions and your interactions with others?

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