Discussion Questions for September 16, 2018

Mark 1:14-34

What does it mean?

1. Review 1:1-13. What was Mark’s big idea last week?

2. Mark transitions from Jesus’ temptation to Jesus’ ministry with the event of John the Baptist’s arrest. How is this event significant?

3. In vs. 14 and 15, the word ‘gospel’ or good news appears twice. How does this emphasis fit with Mark’s opening line in 1:1?

4. How would you put in your own words the ‘gospel of God’ that Jesus is preaching?

5. What do we know from vs. 16-20 about these first disciples? Who is Simon? (See also 3:16) What does Jesus mean by the term ‘fishers of men’?

6. What were the two characteristics of Jesus’ ministry that Mark records as leading to His fame throughout Galilee?

7. What happened at Simon (Peter’s) house?

8. At the end of this section, Mark concludes with Jesus not allowing the demons to speak ‘because they knew him’. What conclusions can we make about what the demons knew (also use 1:24) and why Jesus silenced them?

9. How would you summarize the text this week?

How does it apply?

1. Talk about good news. What is the best news you’ve ever received (other than Jesus)? From whom did you receive it? How did you feel? How did you react? Compare and contrast that with your response to good news about Jesus.

2. Jesus chose to train and work through disciples. What does that tell us about Jesus’ ministry 2000 years ago and his Church today?

3. Who are the disciples of Jesus today? What is their role? How would you describe that role to someone unfamiliar with Christianity?

4. What does Jesus’ authority over demons and His power to heal mean for us? They are not in our typical experience, so why should they matter to us?

5. How do we help one another avoid the demon’s trap of having right knowledge that does not save?

Discussion Questions for September 9, 2018

Mark 1:1-13

What does it mean?

1. What do we know about the author John Mark? (Acts 12:12, Acts 15:36, Colossians 4:10,
2 Timothy 4:11, 1 Peter 5:13)

2. In v1, why do you think Mark skips over Jesus’ birth and goes immediately to the truth of who Jesus is?

3. What is the meaning of the word ‘gospel’? What is the significance of the titles “Christ” and
“Son of God”?

4. In v2, what is Mark’s purpose in quoting the text from Isaiah?

5. Why does Mark highlight the details of John the Baptist’s clothes, beyond the idea of his fashion sense? (Read 2 Kings 1:8 about Elijah’s wardrobe.)

6. According to v4-5, what was John's ministry all about?

7. If that is true that John was baptizing in association with the cleansing from sin, how do you reconcile that with the sinless Jesus getting baptized?

8. In v7, how did John describe the superiority of the One coming after him?

9. In v12, what is the significance of the Spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness?

10. In v13, why do think Mark describes the temptation of Jesus in a single verse?

11. How would you summarize the big idea of Mark 1:1-13?

How does it apply?

1. If Jesus is our Christ, our King, how does this change our life and relationship with Him?

2. What type of Kingdom does Jesus reign over and what is our role in it?

3. Who were the living witnesses to the truth of the Good News of Christ in your life?

4. Mark highlights four witnesses to Jesus as the real deal. In what ways are we a witness to or for Christ in our spheres of influence?

5. As an expression of faith, how can I be used this week to promote his Kingdom?

 

 

Discussion Questions for June 10, 2018

Psalm 150

Discuss the Text

1. How would you summarize Psalm 150?

2. What does “sanctuary” refer to?  What does “mighty heavens” refer to? What do those two locations have in common?

3. application: What seems to be the Psalmists intent for his readers to feel in v1?

4. What is the Psalmist trying to communicate in v2 as it relates to celebrating God?

5. Why does the psalmist not develop the mighty deeds that he mentions?

6. application: How do we or have how you experienced God’s goodness and excellence?

7. How would you paraphrase v3-5? What single word comes to mind to capture that idea?

8. What the does the multiplicity of instruments mentioned tell us about worshipping God?

9. Why is the author adamant about God’s praise being loud and resounding?

10. Why does the psalmist not develop the idea of praising God in stillness and quietness?

11. In v6, what does “everything with breath” refer to? What is the scope of that idea in the Psalmist mind?

12. How would you connect Psalm 1 and Psalm 150 as bookends of the Pslams?

Apply the Text:

1. When was a time in your life that you experienced what the Psalmist is describing, in terms of uninhibited praise of God?

2. As you go throughout your days, is there anything you do that helps you experience this expression of praise more? Explain.

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Discussion Questions for June 3, 2018

Psalm 143

Discuss the Text

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

1a. What is he doing in v 1?

1b. What does faithfulness and righteousness have to do with the prayer?

1c. How does he view himself in relationship to God?  Why connect that idea to his plea for mercy?

1d. application: if people are angry in there day to day, what is implied about their theology?

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

2a. How did David describe his circumstances in v3?  Who are those enemies?  And in what way are they enemies of his soul?

2b. What does David mean in v4 by saying “my heart within me is appalled”?

2c.  What are the days of old referring to?

2d.  According to v 5, what is David pondering and meditating on?  What is it about God’s character that makes David confident that God respond?

2e.  Reflecting back to the idea of Psalm 145, how does v5-6 relate to what David feels even after mediating on the works of God? Explain.

2f. application: Is there any confidence in David’s prayer thus far?  How confident are you that God will answer your cries for help? How could you become more confident?

3. How would you summarize the big idea v7-10?

3a.  What does answer me quickly oh lord mean?

3b.  How would you describe his experience?  What would you base that on?

3c.  What does “hide not your face” and “let me hear your steadfast love” mean? 

3d. What does “the pit” in v7 refer to?

3e.  What are the two ideas that David is going back and forth between in 7-10?

3f. application: What’s our danger of going too far towards hope or too far towards desperation specifically in reference to this text and the words David is using?  What would going too far to either of those extremes look like?

3g.  What does “for in you I trust” mean, though it appears he’s wrestling with trusting?

3h.  What does David mean by, “make known to me the path I should go?

3i.  application: Is there a difference between desperately crying out to God with your troubles and sharing those troubles with others? Explain.

Apply the Text:

1. Have you ever been in this place?  When was it and how did you get out?

2. What are some truths you have come to know about God more deeply because of the challenging circumstances you were confronted with?

3. Can someone learn these same things, without going through challenging circumstances themselves?  Explain.

4. Who have you known that modeled a confident trust in God after experiencing a desperation for God in the midst of their challenging circumstances? 

 

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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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