Discussion Questions for May 27, 2018

Psalm 145

Discuss the Text

1. What is David’s big idea in verses 1-3?   In your own words?

2. Why do you think David tells us in v. 4 that, “One generation shall commend your works to another…”   What’s the significance of our doing that?

3. In 4-7, what are we to be “commending” to others?

4. How would you paraphrase what David is trying to communicate in 8-9?

5. In vs. 12 David tells us that we are, “to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds…”   What are we supposed to be making known?  How do you think David intends we make that known to our kids?

6. How does David describe how God helps us in 14-20?   What words does he use to express how God acts on our behalf?

7. How does David describe the people for whom God works so lovingly in 14-20?   What words does he use?   Who are the folks, according to David, that benefit from God’s goodness?

8. Why does David end vs. 20 with, “but all the wicked he will destroy”?

9. David ends the Psalm by stating he “will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.”  What do you think he hopes people will think and feel as they finish this Psalm?

Apply the Text:

1. When and how did you first come to appreciate God’s goodness?

2. What has helped you grow in your experience and appreciation of God’s great goodness?

3. Are there things in your life that you feel like prevent you from seeing God’s great goodness more thoroughly?  What might those things be?

4. What moves you the most often to praise God?

5. Are there people you know who encourage you to see God’s great goodness more thoroughly?   What do they do?  How does it impact you?

6. What one thing would you be committed to doing that you believe would help you experience God’s great goodness more deeply?

7. What might you do to share with others the great goodness of God that you enjoy?

 

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Discussion Questions for May 20, 2018

Psalm 23

Discuss the Text

1. How would you summarize the big idea v1?

1a. What role does v.1 play in the Psalm?

1b. Even if you don’t know a thing about sheep and shepherds, what does v.1 reveal about the role of a shepherd? What are the key ideas that come with “shepherd”?

1c. How does the name Yahweh impact the statement, “The LORD is my Shepherd?”

2. How would you summarize the big idea v2-3?

2a. What does “lead beside still waters” mean?

2b. What does “makes me lie down in green pastures?”  If you’re a sheep, is there anything better?

2c. What does it mean that “He restores my soul”?

2d. What does “leads me in paths of righteousness” mean?

2e. What does “for His name sake” mean? How does this idea relate to v2?

2f. How does being fed and led relate to God’s glory?

2g. application: What significance does the statement "He makes me to lie down" have for you?

2h. application: Why do our souls need to be restored?

3. How would you summarize the big idea v4?

3a. What does “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” mean?

3b. What does “I will fear no evil” mean?

3c. Does this mean that the Psalmist doesn’t think he will die?

3d. How does “rod and staff” relate to comfort?  Why return to shepherd metaphor?

3e. Switch in pronoun?  What’s the difference between He and you?

3f. application: How can God’s rod and staff be a comfort to us when we are in a dark valley?
3g. application: Does this mean God will give you all that you desire? Why or why not?

2h. application: Do these images and descriptions of God as shepherd match your personal concept and experience of God? If not, what image or word picture does fit your personal experience?

4. How would you summarize the big idea in v5-6?

4a. What does “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” mean?

4b. What is he emphasizing with the juxtaposition of hosting and enemies?

4c. What is the natural response when confronted by enemies (flee or fight)?

4d. In v5, is God the meal or host? Explain. What is David’s point?

4e. What does “anoint” mean? What does “my cup overflows” mean?

4f. How does this relate to prepare a table?

4g. What does “goodness and mercy shall follow me” mean?

4h. Is this emphasizing this life or next?

4i. application: The cup is a symbol of the host’s bountiful provision. What does our Host make our cups overflow with?

4j. application: What is the significance of our Shepherd leading us and goodness and mercy following us?

Apply the Text:

In addition to the application woven throughout the discussion, here are a few more pointed questions.

1. How many people do we know live out the promises in Psalm 23?  Are we just hanging on hoping to survive?  What is the distinction between the ideal of living in this promise and what appears to be most people’s normal experience?

2. When did you guys start to feel you were connected to God in the way Psalm 23 describes?

3. What are some ways that God restores us?

4. Why is it that we fear no evil even when we are in a valley of deep darkness? What difference does this make? What are you feeling today; do you feel more like the words of Psalm 23 or more pressed by the world around you?

 

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Discussion Questions for May 13, 2018

Psalm 121

Discuss the Text

1. How would you articulate the big idea of vs.1-2?

1a. What is the Psalmist referring to when referencing hills?

1b. Where does the Psalmists help come from? What does this mean?

1c. Why is God’s creation of heaven and earth coupled with the author’s confidence that God will help him?

1d. Application: How does your life reflect that God is your help? In what way can you lift your eyes this week?

2. How would you articulate the big idea of vs. 3-4?

2a. Why does the author change the audience from himself to others for the rest of the Psalm?

2b. What does it mean that God will “not let your feet be moved?”

2c. In what ways did God “keep Israel” in the Old Testament? How does the corporate aspect of protection and care connect to or flow from the individual protection and care for the Psalmist?

2d. What does v3 mean, that God will not “slumber nor sleep”?

2e. Application: Picture for a moment that God is always loving and helping you, without ever taking a break or sleeping. How does that make you feel?

3. How would you articulate the big idea of vs. 5-6?

3a. How is the Lord our keeper?

3b. What’s the significance of the phrase “right hand”?

3c. In what sense will the sun not “strike you by day” nor the “moon by night”?

3d. Application: What is causing you to doubt that God is your keeper?

4. How would you articulate the big idea of vs. 7-8?

4a. In what sense will the Lord “keep you from all evil”?

4b. What is another synonym for “keep” in this Psalm?

4c.  In v8, what does that time refer too?

4d. Application: Do you feel God is protecting you from evil?

Apply the Text:

1.  If in every moment we as the people of God believed fully that God is our help, what would our lives be characterized by?

2. What do we do if we don’t feel like God is working to protect us?

3. In what life circumstances right now are you struggling to trust that God is your help? Do you believe God is still your help with you suffer?

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Discussion Questions for May 6, 2018

Psalm 90

Discuss the Text

1. How would you summarize the big idea v1-11?

1a. What metaphor for God does Moses use in v1 and why is that significant?

1b. What characteristic is Moses using in v2 to describe God?  What significance is Moses drawing out by stating that God has no beginning and no end?

1c. As expressed in the Psalm, what is the biggest difference between God and people?  To Moses, what does this difference reveal?
1d. What word pictures does Moses use in v3-6 that emphasize the brevity and hardness of life?

1e. According to v7-11, besides the brevity of life, what is another problem that affects the quality of life?

1f. Who does the “we” and “your” and “our” refer to in these verses?

1g. Why is this group of people experiencing God’s wrath? Who is responsible for that wrath being poured out?

1h. According to v7-10, what is God directing his anger towards? Do you think this reaction is justified?


2. How would you summarize the big idea in v12-17?

2a. To whom does Moses turn to in making sense of the human experience?  Explain.

2b. In v12, what does Moses mean “teach us to number our days”?

2c. What is the correlation between “number our days” and gaining “a heart of wisdom”?

2d. What is Moses asking in v13 in saying “have pity on your servants”?

2e. What is Moses describing in v14-15?  

2f. According to v16, what is the work that Moses is asking God to show?

2g. In v17, what does it mean to “establish the work of our hands”?  How does that correlate to v16?

Apply the Text:

In addition to the application woven throughout the discussion, here are a few more pointed questions.

1. How often do you think about the temporal reality of life? What kind of circumstances in life cause you to think more about this reality?  What impact does thinking about this reality have on your decisions or values or priorities?

2. Discuss how much you agree or disagree with this statement: You don’t really know how to live until you really know you’re going to die.

3. Why are our days and our time so important and not to be wasted?

4. After experiencing the exercise on Sunday, how many days did you have remaining?  What did that do in your heart?  Does it change the way you plan to live them? Going forward, what will be your priorities?

 

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Discussion Questions for April 29, 2018

Psalm 139

Discuss the Text

1. How would you summarize the big idea v1-6?
1a. In v5, what does it mean when David says “you hem me in, behind and before?”
1b. In v6, how does David feel about God’s total knowledge of him?
1c. application: How do you feel about God’s total knowledge of you? Why?

2. How would you summarize the big idea in v7-12?
2a. What do you think is the purpose of David’s questions in v7?
2b. What are the three sets of extremes that David uses to make his point that God’s presence is everywhere?
2c. application: Even if we know we cannot get away from Gods presence, in what ways do we still hold God at a distance?

3. How would you summarize the big idea in v13-16?
3a. In v13-16, when does David say that God first established a relationship with him?
3b. In v15, what does it mean that “I was being made in secret” and “your eyes saw my unformed substance”?
3c. In v16, is the book literal or figurative?  What does the book represent?
3d. application: How can I see the value of life according to God in these verses?

4. How would you summarize the big idea in v17-18?
4a. How do v1-16 transition to and connect with v17-18?
4b. What does it mean to David to describe the thoughts of God as “precious?
4c. What does David mean by “I am still with you”?

5. How would you summarize the big idea in v19-22?
5a. In v19, what appears to be David’s reason for bringing the wicked into this discussion? 
5b. What would lead David to have such negative feelings towards them?
5c. application:  What do you hold so precious that if insulted or threatened, you respond strongly?

6. How would you summarize the big idea in v23-24?

Since David has already acknowledged that God knows everything about him, what is his purpose in asking God to search him and know his heart?

Apply the Text:

In addition to the application woven throughout the discussion, here are a few more pointed questions.

1.  Which of the statements in 139:1-6 do you find most comforting? Why? Which one makes you most uncomfortable? Why?

2.  How often do you ask God to reveal to you whether there is a grievous way in you and to lead you in his ways everlasting?

 

 

Discussion Questions for April 22, 2018

PSALM 51

DISCUSS THE TEXT

1. How would you summarize the big idea v1-2?

     1a. How does this big idea relate to the rest of the text?

     1b. What is the essence of what David is asking for?

2. How would you summarize the big idea in v3-6?

     2a. Is there a difference between David’s use of the word “transgression” and “sin”?

     2b. What do you take from David’s perspective of directing his sin only against God?

     2c. How does David explain that his sinful acts are but symptoms of a deeper problem?

3. How would you summarize the big idea in v7-12?

     3a. In v8, what does it mean that “the bones that you have broken rejoice”?

     3b. According to v10, where does the work of cleansing begin? Is this significant? Explain.

     3c. In v11, what does it mean to ask, “take not your Holy Spirit from me”?

     3d. In v12, what does it mean to ask, “uphold me with a willing spirit”?

4. How would you summarize the big idea in v13-17?

     4a. According to David, what produces his desire to share about God?

     4b. What does David mean by “a broken and contrite heart”? 

5. How would you summarize the big idea in v18-19?

     5a. First David says that God does not delight in sacrifices in v16 and then he says that God does delight in sacrifices (51:19). Explain.

     5b. Explain the shift of David from personal in v1-17 to corporate in v18-19?

Apply the Text

1. When do you remember having the experience David describes when you were grieved and overwhelmed by recognizing your sin against God?

2. Is it appropriate to return to that place? Explain. How often?

3. What is the correlation between recognizing our brokenness before God and our desire to share about him with others the way David describes in v13-15?

4. What are the characteristics of the person who lives with the brokenness and contrite heart that is described in the Psalms? How can we become more of that person?

5. Who did you share last weeks big idea with and who CAN you share this weeks big idea with?

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Discussion Questions for April 15, 2018

PSALM 27

What is something that you care about or want more of, more than anything else, this year? What does waiting for that thing look like?

DISCUSS THE TEXT

1. Try organizing the Psalm into different sections. How many would you use?  What are they?

2. What does David offer as the solution to fear? Why does David offer it in the form of a question?

3. David uses word pictures of God as light, salvation and a fortress. What do you think David means when he uses those terms?

4. In v2-3, why would David not fear even if an army were encamped around him?

5. In v4, what was the one thing David asked for? Why did David desire this?

6. According to v5-6, what difficulties was David experiencing in these verses? How would David respond to victory over his enemies?

7. What shift in the text occurs in v7?  How would you summarize David’s prayer?

8. In v9, what is David asking in regards to God’s anger?

9. In v11, what is David asking God to teach him?  Explain.

10. In v13, what does the “land of the living” refer to?

11. In v14, what does it mean to “wait for the Lord”?

12. How would you paraphrase Psalm 27 in your words?

APPLY THE TEXT

1. In v4, David encourage us to stay close to God knowing that there is nothing more important than being close to God; how do you articulate the pursuit of God’s presence in your life?

2. Are there situations that have driven you to God for refuge? What words would you use to describe your sense of His presence at these times?

3. Can you sympathize with David’s prayer in this passage (v.7-12)? Have you ever felt like God has abandoned you and isn’t answering your prayers? How did you respond?

4. How are you able to maintain trust in God during those times when He appears to be silent?

5. How do you wait for God in times when you want immediate answers for a pressing circumstance?  Explain.

6. How has God’s faithfulness helped you wait for God?  How would you counsel someone else as they wait on God?

7. This week, what will you do to seek God’s presence? What are you expecting to happen?

8. With whom can you share the message of Psalm 27 this week that has yet to treasure Christ?

 

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Discussion Questions for April 8, 2018

PSALM 46

What was your biggest fear growing up as a child? Are you scared about natural disasters?  Have you ever experienced one? When?

DISCUSS THE TEXT

1. Read the Psalm. Attempt to summarize the text into one big idea.

2. How does v1 relate to the Psalm?

3. What is the Psalmist referring to in v2-3?

4. What is the Psalmists encouraging the readers in the midst of the natural disasters?

5. How do the waters of 46:2-3 compare with the waters of verse 46:4?

6. What is the “city of God” referring to?  Is this literal or metaphorical?

7. Where are the threats against the city coming from? How will the city of God be protected?

8. What invitation does the psalmist extend in v8?

9. What do God’s actions in v8-9 reveal about who God is or about God’s character?

10. According to v10, how does one accept the invitation extended in v8?

11. What is God saying about Himself and his character in v10?

12. According to v11, how is that correlated to those that follow Him?

13. How would you paraphrase Psalm 46?

APPLY THE TEXT

1. Is there a difference between God helping us when we are in trouble and God being with us in trouble? Why or why not?

2. Since God is with us in the midst of trouble, how should we respond?

3. What are some things in our world that truly make you fearful? What are the things that you fear?

4. How can we practice being still before God? Why is it so difficult for us to take time to rest with God?

5. Is “Be still and know that I am God” a command or a suggestion?  Does knowing who is communicating, change the impact it has on you?  Explain?

6. What is one way you WILL remind yourself of God’s presence being with you this week?

LIVE OUT THE TEXT

1. After group, take 10 minutes to create a list of lessons from Psalm 46.  Journal about which of these lessons means the most to you.

2. Memorize one verse from Psalm 46.  Write this verse out on a card and keep in visible for one week. Pray it over and over. Be prepared to share next week on how God was working through this text.

3. Spend 10 minutes of solitude reflecting on and experiencing God’s presence is the most important thing in this life.

4. Engage in conversation with someone yet to believe.  Ask them about how they view fear; how they think about the things they fear around them; how they attempt to cope.

 

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Discussion Questions for March 25, 2018

PSALM 73

DISCUSS THE TEXT:

1. Try organizing the Psalm into different sections. How many would you use?  What are they?

2. What is Asaph saying in v1 about the goodness of God?  Who are the pure in heart?

3. What does Asaph admit in v2 about his conviction in this belief?

4. What is the issue that Asaph identifies as his problem in v3?

5. How would you summarize v4-12 regarding the focus of attention for the wicked?

6. What does the psalmist mean in v11 when he quotes the wicked in saying, “how can God know?  Is there knowledge in the most high?”

7. In v15, Asaph was doubting God's goodness, yet he was careful about expressing his doubt. Why?

8. What was Asaph's first approach in dealing with his dilemma in v16?

9. In v17, what perspective on the wicked did Asaph get from God that made him realize that the prosperity of the wicked in this world doesn't matter?

10. What is the Psalmist communicating in v18-20?

11. In v22, what does the psalmist mean that he was “brutish and ignorant” towards God?

12. What is Asaph communicating in v25-26?

13. What happens to those who choose to live separated from God, what the psalmist terms “far from You”?

14. What is significant about the final line of this psalm, “That I may tell of all Your works”?

15. How would you paraphrase Psalm 73?

APPLY THE TEXT:

1. When was a time that you doubted the goodness of God? Through that experience, have you ever had a "sanctuary experience"? When? Where? What happened?

2. When things appear to be unfair to us as we look around, how do we increasingly bring these issues before God?

3. What are the areas of my life that I need to have an eternal perspective on?  How can I increasingly gain an eternal perspective on my circumstances?

LIVE OUT THE TEXT:

1. After group, take 10 minutes to create a list of lessons from Psalm 73.  Journal about which of these lessons means the most to you.

2. Memorize one verse from Psalm 73.  Write this verse out on a card and keep in visible for one week. Pray it over and over. Be prepared to share next week on how God was working through this text.

3. Spend 5 minutes of solitude reflecting on and experiencing God’s presence is the most important thing in this life.

4. Engage in conversation with someone yet to believe.  Ask them about how they view success;  how they think about others prosperity around them; how they shift their perspective.

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Discussion Questions for March 18, 2018

PSALM 19

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1.  Try organizing this Psalm into sections.  How many would you use?  What are they? 

2.  What declares God's glory, and shows His handiwork? What do the heavens and sky refer to? 

3.  What “pours out speech and reveals knowledge” and about whom are they revealing this? 

4.  What does it mean, then, when it says that “there is no speech, nor are there words”?

5.  What does it mean that the sun “comes out like a bridegroom” or “like a strong man, runs its course with joy”?

6.  In v7, how does David transition from God speaking through creation?

7.  What synonyms does David use for God’s Word in v 7-9?  Why do you think David uses several synonyms for the Word of God? What do these words reveal about the role of Scripture?

8.  In v7-9, what four effects can the Word of God have on its readers?

9.  What does it mean that Scripture is “more to be desired”? In comparison to what?

10.  In what way does Scripture serve as a warning?  In what was is it a reward?

11.  What concern does David have regarding "hidden faults"? For what does he pray concerning "presumptuous sins"? In v12-13, what two kinds of sins does David pray to be delivered from? How would you distinguish between these types of sins?

12.  How would you summarize the big idea of Psalm 19?
 

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.  Is the truth about God’s glory in creation obvious to everyone?  What would lead some people hear and see it and others to not?

2.  When a person truly sees the work of God’s glory in creation, what would be a reasonable response?  How can we become more attentive to hearing God through creation?

3.  How can you assess whether the Word is more valuable than any other material, earthly object in your life? 

4.  How can we continue to grow in believing that the word is the key to our finding our joy in God.

5.  What would it look like to pray against hidden faults? To pray for help in living in a way that genuinely displays the authenticity of our relationship with Him?

 

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Discussion Questions for March 11, 2018

PSALM 32

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you define ‘blessed’?

2. In Psalm 32:1-2, how many different words does David use for sin? Why does he use these words? What would it mean to be the person “in whose spirit is no deceit”?

3. How does David describe sin’s effect in his life?

4. How many different ways does David describe confession?  In v. 5, is David implying that he could have covered “iniquity”?

5. How does God respond to David’s confession?  How does David respond to God’s forgiveness?

6. What do the “mighty waters” refer to?  Who are the “they” in v.6?  And, who is the “him”?

7. To whom is David sharing this discovery?  What does it mean to be surrounded with shouts of deliverance?

8. How many words does David choose for Instruction?  What is the significance of the pattern of the 3 verbs “instruct, teach and counsel” in v.8?

9. What is the lesson David is describing in v.9?

10. Who are “the wicked” in v.10?

11. What would lead David to direct people to be glad, rejoice and shout for joy? Where is he believing that would come from?

12. How would you paraphrase Psalm 32?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. When you think about God’s offer of forgiveness?  What thoughts, what emotions, what responses come to mind? 

2. Has there been a time in your life when you felt the depth of your sin against God and knew you needed God’s forgiveness?  Describe what that time in your life was like?

3. With where you find yourself in life, do you need a renewed commitment of confession to God in your life? Is sin keeping you from experiencing the rejoicing, the gladness and the shouts of joy?

4. What would it look like to cultivate more honesty with yourself and with God about your sin (live with no deceit) and simultaneously cultivate an awareness (an understanding) of God’s love and forgiveness for you through Christ? 

5. How do you praise God for his mercy and restoration both in your conversations and in your ongoing spiritual transformation?

6. How can we be those ‘shouts of deliverance’ for others, pointing to God’s forgiveness?

 

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Discussion Questions for March 4, 2018

PSALM 16

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. What is David asking for in this Psalm? What is his request?

2. What is the significance that David attributes three different names to God?

3. What does it mean when he says, “I have no good apart from you”?

4. Who are the "saints” and what does it mean that “they are in the land”?

5. In whom did David find great delight?  How does that relate to His greatest good being found in God?

6. What did David consider as the portion of his inheritance? Is this referring to something physical or spiritual?

7. What does David mean by “Lord gives me counsel” and “my heart instructs me”?

8. What did David mean by “you will not abandon my soul to Sheol” and “you will not let your holy one see corruption”?

9. What will be found in God's presence and at His right hand? Explain.

10. How would you paraphrase the big idea of this psalm?

 HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. Where are the areas of life people tend to look for comfort and happiness?

2. When we find ourselves faced with challenges and unable to affirm that that there is no good apart from God, what could we do and how could we move towards restoring that connection or believing that more?

3. What difference does it make to be in community with others who treasure Christ above all else?

4. When we find ourselves enjoying our connection with God and are desperate for more, how do we move in that direction? Grow in that connection?

5. How could we, this week, tangibly, invest in someone we know who is hurting?

6. What would be expressions of someone who is clinging to Ps 16:11 and enjoying their connection with God to the absolute fullest?

 

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Discussion Questions for February 25, 2018

Psalm 1
What does the text say?

1. What do you know about the Psalms?

2. What are your general observations about Psalm 1? 

3. What does it mean to “walk in the counsel of the wicked”? or “stand in the way of sinners” or “sit in the seat of scoffers”?

4. What does it mean that this person’s “delight is in the law of the Lord”?

5. What does “the law” refer to?

6. What does it mean to “meditate day and night” on the law?

7. In what way is this person “like a tree planted by streams of water”?

8. What is do fruit and un-withered leaves signify?

9. What does it mean that “all that he does prospers”?

10. In what way will the wicked “not stand in the judgment”?

11. What does it mean that “the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish”?

12. How would you paraphrase Psalm 1?

How does it apply?

1. What are you most looking forward to during our series in Psalms?  What do you think might be most challenging?

2. Regarding Psalm 1, how does the author begin and end the Psalm?  Why do you think it was framed this way?

3. What are the potential worldviews that we are tempted to walk, stand or sit in that distract us from treasuring Christ?

4. What would it look like for someone to delight in God through the Scriptures?

5. Who are the people in your life that delight in God this way?  Do they seem like healthy ‘trees’ to you?  How so?

6. How would you encourage someone for whom reading is a challenge and therefore hard to delight in Scripture and meditate on it?

7. What could you do to delight in discovering more of God through His word?

 

Discussion Questions for February 11, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:14-20

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. What are the big ideas of the book of Philippians?

2. Review chapter 4.  How are the ideas of chapter 4 linked?

3. What trouble is Paul referring to in v14?

4. What does “the beginning of the gospel” refer to?

5. Why does Paul return to the idea of partnership?

6. Paul describes this partnership in terms of “giving and receiving.” What was given? What was received? 

7. What does Paul mean when he says, “not that I seek the gift”?

8. What is the “fruit that increases to your credit”?  Explain.

9. Why does he say, I have received full payment, and more”?

10. Explain what Paul means when he says their gift was “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God”. 

11. In what way does Paul intend to communicate that “God will supply every need”?

12. How would you paraphrase Philippians 4:14-20?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. Paul calls the Philippians partners.  He could have called them donors, supporters, or friends.  What does the word 'partnership' uniquely convey? 

2. What does 'partnership in advancing the Gospel' look like today? at RCC?

3. What criteria do you use to determine where you will invest your time, treasure or talents?

4. How does God get glory when we are generous with our time, treasure or talents? How important are our motives in that process?

5. How does our view of God affect how we invest our time, treasure, and talents?

6. How has your view of God changed/shifted/expanded during our time in Philippians?

 

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Discussion Questions for February 4, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:10-13

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you summarize the big ideas of Philippians 1-3?  What shift has occurred in Philippians 4?

2. What does Paul mean by “now at length you have revived your concern for me”?

3. What does it mean that the Philippian church “had no opportunity”?

4. What does Paul mean that he has “learned in whatever situation I am to be content”? Why does Paul use content rather than joy?

5. What does contentment mean?

6. What is Paul referring to when he says, “brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance”?  Is this material?  Spiritual?  Explain.

7. What is the “secret” that Paul has learned?

8. In this context, what does “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” mean? 

9. How would you paraphrase Philippians 4:10-13?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. Is it possible for us to experience the type of contentment that Paul felt?

2. How do we gauge how great an impact circumstances have on our contentment?

3. Do we believe Jesus is satisfying enough to provide contentment in all circumstances?

4. Who are the people that you have seen demonstrate this type of contentment? What was the situation?

5. In what areas are of your life are you struggling to find contentment?

6. How can the life group encourage you in this struggle?

7. Who is someone in your life who is struggling to find contentment?  How could you encourage them? 

 

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Discussion Questions for January 28, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:8-9

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. What does Paul intend to communicate with the word, “finally”?

2. Does Paul have something specific in mind that he shared previously in the letter or a general admonition with the phrases, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable”?

3. What does “if there is any excellence” and “if there is anything worthy of praise” mean?  How is Paul using those questions here?

4. What ‘things’ does Paul have in mind as he encourages his audience to “think about these things”?

5. What does “learned and received” refer to? What does “heard and seen in me” refer to? Explain.

6. What does it mean to “practice these things”?

7. What does it mean that the peace of God “guards our hearts and minds”? Explain.

8. How would you paraphrase the big idea of Philippians 4:8-9?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. How aware are we of what’s going on in our culture through media, movies, TV, etc. and to what degree does it influence our thinking?

2. What are the primary influences of your life?  What would you need to change to align your life more with what Paul describes that should saturate our thinking?

3. In general, does it feel like thinking deeply about God is encouraged or discouraged?  Explain.  How could we encourage more of it?

4. How do we as a group continue to invite those around us to think deeply about God, and be an influence their life? 

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Discussion Questions for January 21, 2018

PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you explain the big ideas throughout Philippians?

2. What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord? Why do you think he specifies “always”? Why does Paul remind us of this?

3. Why do you think Paul is so serious about showing reasonableness and having a non-anxious presence? According to the text, where do we get the power to be reasonable with everyone?

4. What does it mean to be “anxious about nothing”?

5. What do our hearts and minds need to be guarded or protected from? How are we guarded “in Christ Jesus”?

6. What does it mean or look like for the God of peace to be with someone? What kind of peace is Paul describing?

7. How would you paraphrase Philippians 4:4-7?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1. What sorts of things occupy your mind? The things that cause you worry, anxiety, fear, or emotional pain? How does your preoccupation with these things affect your relationships?

2. When you feel worried, anxious, fearful, or emotionally pained, what do you do to feel better? What would it look like for you to use prayer and your mind to fight for joy or peace?

3. Where have you seen God at work in your life for which you are thankful?

4. What are the concerns you need prayer for right now? How can we pray for the things which occupy your mind which are causing you to be worried, anxious, fearful, or emotionally pained?

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Discussion Questions for January 14, 2018

PHLIPPIANS 4:2-3

REVIEW

1. READ Philippians 1:1-26.  How would you paraphrase the big idea?

2. READ Philippians 1:27-30. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

3. READ Philippians 2:1-11. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

4. READ Philippians 2:12-30. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

5. READ Philippians 3:1-4:1. How would you paraphrase the big idea?

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. In 4:2, who are Euodia, Syntyche, and Clement? Why do you think Paul makes such a public display of these people?

2. What does it mean to “agree in the Lord”? Why is it so important that Euodia and Syntyche are of the same mind?

3. Who is Paul referring to as his true companion?

4. Why might it be significant that they each labored with Paul or that their names are in the book of life? Why does Paul mention it here?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.    How do you typically handle conflict? Do you avoid it? Do you embrace it? Why?

2.   Was there ever a time when a disagreement left you feeling devalued in the local church?  How did you respond?  Was there ever a time when you were overly attached to the wrong things?  Explain.

3.   In a conflict, what does it look like to try and see the situation from the other’s perspective?

4.   How do you determine the importance or significance of the issue that you are wrestling with?  How do you determine if a passionate response is founded in a desire to advance the gospel, or a desire to protect our image, ego, significance? Explain.

5.   If it should happen again that you feel devalued, or find yourself in conflict; would you respond differently?  If so, how?

6. How can we help each other to respond to conflict in Christ-like ways?

 

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Discussion Questions for December 10, 2017

PHILIPPIANS 3:17-4:1

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY?

1. How would you summarize Philippians 3:1-16?

2. According to v 17, who are the Philippians to imitate?  Is it limited to the preceding context or does Paul have all of his letter in mind?  Explain. What is Paul referring to when he says that he hasn’t attained to or obtained yet?

3. Who are those walking as “enemies of the cross”?

4. What do the phrases “their god is their belly”, “they glory in their shame” and “with minds set on earthly things” mean?

5. What is the significance of our “citizenship” being in heaven?

6. What perspective is Paul encouraging when he says that Christ will “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body”?  How is this connected to our citizenship?

7. What is Paul hoping his readers hear when he says, “by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”??

8. How would you paraphrase 3:17-4:1?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.    Who is someone seeking to know Christ that you have imitated? Who are you imitating today?

2.   How does an awareness of our citizenship impact our thinking, feeling and behavior today?

3.   What makes someone an enemy of the cross of Christ? Why might their example be tempting to follow?

4.   Have you ever experienced strong emotions at the thought of those who are lost in easy-believism, though they claim to be followers of Christ? Explain.

5.   How can we help support each other to lovely engage those who walk as enemies of the cross?

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Discussion Questions for December 3, 2017

PHILIPPIANSs 3:10-16

WHAT DOES THE TEXT SAY

1. How would you summarize Philippians 3:1-11?

2. Paul lists four intense desires in v.10-11. What are they? What is Paul attempting to communicate through those ideas?

3. What is Paul referring to when he says that he hasn’t attained to or obtained yet?

4. In v.12-14, what is the “goal” for which Paul is striving?

5. What does Paul mean by “forgetting what lies behind”?

6. Paul indicates that his motivation to persevere is because “Christ Jesus has made me his own”. How does this work? Why might the assurance that Paul belongs to Christ motivate him to “strain forward”? What does Paul mean when saying “Knowing Christ Jesus My Lord”?

7. In Paul’s mind, is “forgetting” just as important as “straining toward”? Explain. How would you paraphrase Philippians 3:1-9?

8. Why might Paul consider it a mark of maturity to recognize your own imperfection?

9. How would you paraphrase Philippians 3:12-16?

HOW DOES IT APPLY?

1.    What does knowing Jesus more mean for you?

2.   How would you explain your current strategy for growing in your “knowledge” of Jesus?

3.   What kinds of results is your strategy producing?

4.   What thoughts or feelings do you experience when hanging with others who are growing in their knowledge of Jesus? Hanging with those who don’t “know” Jesus?

5.   If you have someone in your life who isn’t desiring to press on in the way Paul describes, what would your encouragement to them be?

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