Discussion Questions for December 16, 2018

Mark 4:26-34

What does it Mean?

1.     Review Mark 4:1-25.  What common themes do you notice in these two parables?

2.     In verses 26-27, who is the “man”?

3.     In verse 27, Jesus says the farmer “sleeps and rises night and day” and “he knows not
how.
” What is he trying to emphasize?  How does this fit with the parables of the sower
and the lamp?  

4.     In verse 29, what does the harvest represent and who is harvesting?

5.     In verse 31, when Jesus says that the kingdom of God is “like a grain of mustard seed,
what is Jesus saying the kingdom looks like and will look like later?

6.     In verse 32, what does “the birds of the air can make nests in its shade” imply about  
growth?

7.     In verse 33, what does Mark mean when he says “as they were able to hear it”?  Does he
mean the ability to listen or the ability to understand?  How does this compare to how
Jesus spoke to his disciples?

8.    How would you paraphrase the big ideas of verses 26-29 and verses 30-32?

How does it Apply?

1.     Through our time in these parables, does the concept of hidden or slow growth
encourage you or frustrate you?

2.    Does the parable of the mustard seed give us hope that God’s kingdom is and will
advance? How does that impact daily life?

3.     Can you think of anyone in your life that you see growing in their understanding of who
God is and growing in their trust of him?  Do you know someone that appears to be
struggling in these specific areas?  How can you be an encouragement to them?

4.     During this advent season, as you reflect on the upcoming celebration of Christmas, how
might the words “hope” and “joy” traditionally impact you?  In light of the learnings in
Mark 4, how might these words look different this year?

 

 

 

Discussion Questions for December 9, 2018

Mark 4:21-25

What does it mean?

1.  How would you summarize the big idea of Mark 4:1-20?

2.  What major theme is similar in this parable of the lamp to that of last week's parable of
the sower?

3.  Who is the “them” that Mark refers to in verse 21? To what does the “lamp” refer to in
verse 21?

4.  In last week’s text, verses 11 and 12 show of the secret of the kingdom being revealed as
well as hidden to some. What is now being referenced in verse 22 with "nothing is hidden"?

5.  In verses 23 and 24, we see the repeated use of the word “hear”.  What does Mark want to
communicate through the repetition?

6.  In verse 24, "pay attention to what you hear" is the focus intended to be more on the
content of what we hear or the response to what we hear?

7.  In verse 24, who is the measurer and what is being measured?

8.  Is the "more will be added to you" something we see now or something we experience
later?

9.  What does verse 25 mean when it says “even what he has will be taken away from him”?

10. How would you paraphrase the big idea of Mark 4:21-25?

How does it apply?

1.  How would your life be different if there was no light - if you lived completely in darkness?

2.  How do we know if we are shining (or hiding) Jesus’ light? 

3.  Can you point to someone who was an example of the light of Jesus shining that
encouraged a greater pursuit of Jesus in you?

4.  As a group, how do we encourage each other as we determine what our lights look like?

 

Discussion Questions for December 2, 2018


Mark 4:1-20

What does it mean?

1.    What are your initial thoughts on the parable of the sower? Would you have imagined the
parable to mean something different before Jesus’ explanation of it? What do you think
his purpose is in telling the parable to this large crowd?

2.    Why do you think Mark places this story immediately after Jesus declaring who is in his
true family?

3.    Who do you think has ears to ear (v 9)?

4.    What are the two reasons Jesus gives for speaking in parables in verses 11 and 12?
Why are some meant to not be understood?

5.   If the parables are supposed to be apparent to those who have been given the “secret of
the kingdom of God” (v 11), why do the twelve still have such a hard time understanding?

6.   Who is the sower? What do we know about him from Jesus’ initial telling of the parable
and then his explanation? Do you think it’s intentional that we don’t know much about
him?

7.   Why does Jesus describe so many options of soils rather than simply “bad soil” and
“good soil”?

8.   Who are those “along the path” in verse 15?

9.   In verse 16, how does Jesus describe the seed sown on rocky ground?

10. What does it mean to have good soil, and what do the seeds sown by the sower produce in
those that have good soil?

11. What would you say this parable is about, the sower or the soil?

How does it apply?

1.  What do the actions of the sower have to say about what our response should be to
receiving the word?

2.  Can you think of any examples of people you’ve met or talked to that resemble some of the
types of soil that Jesus describes?

3.  Do you have good soil? Describe what it might means for you to “bear fruit.”

4.  How do we reconcile God’s sovereignty over the different soils and our responsibility to
continue sowing? What encouragement do we have in sharing the word with others?

 

Discussion Questions for November 25, 2018

Mark 3:20-35

What does it mean?

1.    How would you summarize Mark 3:12-19?

2.    If you were to give titles to the three main sections of this passage (v 20-21; 22- 30;
31-35), what would they be?

3.    In our previous text, we see varying views of Jesus from the religious leaders, demons,
and the crowds.  What additional view are we seeing from His own family in v 21?
And from the scribes in v 22?

4.    In your own words, explain the parable of the kingdom and the house. What is Jesus
trying to say about the power He holds versus the power of Satan?  Has Jesus already
alluded to power over Satan anywhere else in Mark?

5.    Whose house is being plundered in v 27? Who is the strong man and when is Jesus
referring to this taking place?

6.    In v 28, who does Jesus say will be forgiven, and for what? Who is included in this group?
Have we seen Jesus reference forgiveness of sins in any section up until this portion of
Mark 3?

7.   In v 29, why does Jesus link the statements about the Holy Spirit to “eternal sin”? What
does he imply that this behavior points to?

8.   How does Jesus distinguish between the crowd “sitting around him” and His family who
were “standing outside?”

9.   How do these three sections fit together?  In your own words, how would you summarize
them?

How does it apply?

1.    In what ways are we vulnerable of making accusations of Jesus ourselves, based on the
way we view Him and the way we live our lives?

2.    If Jesus has the power to plunder Satan, what else does He hold power over?  How do we
see our lives reflect this view?

3.   Think back to that first feeling of being forgiven by Jesus. Do you remember it how it felt? 
Is this feeling something you often draw on?

4.   Thinking of your own family, who on your list would you like to become a part of the true
family of Jesus?  How can you share Jesus with them?

5.   Reflect on both your physical and spiritual family. Thank God for those He has placed in
your life as family and those that can be called your “family” because of their connection
to Jesus.

Discussion Questions for November 18, 2018

Mark 3:7-19

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize Mark thus far? How does that fit with what we saw last week?

2. Immediately following the passage where religious leaders are plotting to destroy Jesus,
he withdraws. Explain the essence of Jesus’ response. Where have we seen this response
from Jesus before in the Gospel of Mark?

3. The crowds are fascinated with Jesus, but not always for the right reasons. In Mark 3, what
seems to be the reason? Do you think Jesus healed everyone? Explain.

4. What is Jesus’ primary mission and how does this compare with the primary desires of
the crowds? How does Jesus respond to the crowds even though their desires are
different from his priorities?

5. Why does Jesus tell the unclean spirits to be silent when they refer to him as the “Son of
God”?

6. In v13, what does it mean that Jesus “called to him those whom he desired”?

7. In v14-15, what are the two main reasons Mark gives us for Jesus appointing the apostles?
Are they already equipped to fulfill these roles? Explain.

8. In v16-19, Mark lists the apostles’ names. Why do you think Mark includes this list?

9. How would you paraphrase Mark 3:7-19?

How does it apply?

1. The last couple of weeks, we have focused on fasting, resting, and trusting God. How has
the experience been for you? Do you anticipate more of this in your life moving forward?
Explain.

2. Like the crowds, are there things we are more fascinated with than the truth of the gospel?

3. Those who trust Jesus and are closest to him are called to spread the good news. How
does it feel knowing we are called to do the same?

4. What would you say those closest to us think our view of Jesus is? What would you like
them to see, and do they differ?

5. In living out the truth of who Jesus really is, how can we encourage and support each
other?

Discussion Questions for November 11, 2018

Mark 2:23-3:6

What does it mean?

1. How would you summarize where we have been in Mark thus far?  What was the big idea of Mark 2:18-22?

2. The Pharisees last week asked about rules observing fasting and now inquire about working on the Sabbath. What actions do the Pharisees think are unlawful in this passage? Does it appear that they are asking in order to find fault, or to find clarity? Explain.

3. How does Jesus defend his disciples' actions?

4. Why does Jesus point to David as an example to the Pharisees?

5. What does it mean that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath"?

6. Do the Pharisees recognize Jesus as who He says He is in verse 28? What evidence is in this passage for their views?

7.  In Chapter 3, what problem do the Pharisees have with Jesus and how does Jesus respond to them? 

8. Why does Jesus use the phrase "save life" when challenging the Pharisee’s views?

9. According to Mark, what is it that grieves Jesus? What is it that makes him angry? Is it significant that Mark includes both of these emotions? Explain.

10. How would you paraphrase the big idea of Mark 2:23-3:6?

 How does it apply?

1. What mentality of the law, or rules around Christianity, did you grow up with?  If you grew up in it, what was the motivation for the way in which we were to live our lives?

2. As we understand the gospels, do we feel more or less freedom when it comes to living with rules or guidelines of Christian conduct? How does this fit with the idea that God loves us and wants us to be happy?

3. Should we still be practicing some form of Sabbath? What might it look like? What might it look like this week?

4. If you spent any part of this past week fasting, how was your experience?  What are you hoping will come from it in the next couple weeks?

 

Discussion Questions for November 4, 2018

Mark 2:18-22

What does the text mean?

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

2.     According to v18, why are John’s disciples and the Pharisee’s disciples fasting?

3.     What the essence of the question being asked?

4.     In v18-20, what is helpful about Jesus’ analogy of the bridegroom and the wedding celebration? Who is the bridegroom, and why should they not fast while he is with them?

5.     What are the days that Jesus is referring to in or by “that day”?

6.     How does Jesus use the old and the new in these two examples to explain his purpose? 

7.     How does this narrative connect with the passage immediately before? Does the context of Jesus reclining with tax collectors and sinners change the way you read or interpret his teaching in this passage? 

8.     The reader is starting to get a picture of what it looks like to follow Christ, and it seems to be counter to what everyone expected. What have we seen so far of this “new way” that the disciples of Jesus seem to be following? How is it different than the “old way”? 

9.     In the ESV translation, the header for these 5 verses reads “A Question About Fasting” - Are they really asking about just fasting in this passage?  If we you were to title this section, what would you call it a question about?

10.  How would you paraphrase the big idea of Mark 2:18-22?

How does the text apply?

1.     We are awaiting the return of the bridegroom. How should we be waiting for him? Are we to be fasting? What could that look like today?

2.     Consider fasting every Wednesday until Thanksgiving. It could be a fast from: television, phone, social networking, shopping, amusement or beverages.  What would that look like for you?

3.     How can we, as a Life Group, help ensure that our motivations for the things we do together are always pointing us to God?

 

Discussion Questions for October 28, 2018

Acts 1:8

Share the Treasure: Trust.  Invest.  Share.

Week Three: Share the Treasure.

Review - Invest in Relationships

• What did you realize upon reflection of your relationships? In what ways have you found the investments you’ve made in the past week challenging and/or rewarding?

Opening Question:

• What do you think when you hear the phrase “Share the Treasure”? How does what you think now differ from what you thought before the series?  

Discussion Questions:

1. What have been ways that the treasure has been shared in our lives? How effective were those means in our lives?

2. How would you articulate the way we share the treasure at RCC?

3. If ‘Sharing the Treasure’ was done right or in the most effective way, what would that look like?

4. How equipped do we feel to share that treasure with others?

5. What benefit is there if we share the treasure with others? What liability is there  if we don’t share?

6. Who in your life was instrumental in helping you find the treasure?

7. Who in your life needs to find Jesus as their treasure, and what prevents you from sharing more boldly with them?

 How can we share our stories?

1. Are you comfortable sharing your story and telling people about the impact Jesus has had on your life? What makes it hard to do this?

2. Instead of sharing your story first, have you ever tried asking others about their story?

3. How can you focus on non-confrontational listening and create a safe place for honest two-way sharing?

4. What kinds of questions help people share their story at a deeper level?

5. How can we help each other in this?

 

 

 

 

Discussion Questions for October 21, 2018

Matthew 22:34-40

Share the Treasure: Trust.  Invest.  Share.

Week Two: Share the Treasure.

Review - Trust

1. What stood out to you last week about trusting God? What was your new or renewed awareness of God’s faithfulness?

Opening Questions:

2. How many relationships are you currently invested in?  From old friends, to casual acquaintances, to neighbors and family?

Why Invest in Relationships?

3. In what ways do you see that God has wired us for relationships?   (Gen.1:26-27; 2:18-24)

4. How does Jesus’ summary of the Old Testament laws (Matt.22:34-40) communicate God’s priority for relationships?

5. How does our relationship with God lead us to ‘Share the Treasure’ with others?  

Which Relationships to invest in?

6. Given the number of our relationships, how do we calibrate how much time, energy, and resource investment we give to each relationship? Are we proactive or reactive in that investment? 

7. How might we be more strategic in determining how we invest in our current relationships?

How to invest in Relationships?

8. How does our experience of God meeting our greatest needs change the way we interact in relationships?

9. How can we show genuine interest in people? How do we know that it’s genuine? What if we don’t have a genuine interest in them? What do we do?

10. How do we balance God’s responsibility and our responsibility in this process?

11. What if my family member/friend/neighbor is unreceptive to talking about faith?  

12. Identify a few people you care for deeply who don’t yet treasure Jesus. Set aside specific time to pray for them and ask God to use you. Choose one relationship where you could make a small investment this week and share it with your group.

 

 

Discussion Questions for October 14, 2018

Philippians 3:7-9

Share the Treasure: Trust.  Invest.  Share.

Week One: Trust God.

Opening Question: What does it mean to trust someone or something?  

Trusting Things:

1. What are the things in life that you trust?  Why do you trust them?

2. How many things did you have to trust to get to church/life group? 

3. When do we care about the things we’re trusting?

4. How does it feel when the things we trust reliably meet our needs?

Trusting People:

5. Who are the people in life that you trust?  Why do you trust them?

6. How does it feel to have trustworthy people in your life?

7. How does it feel when the people you trust let you down?

Trusting God:

8. What does it mean to trust God?

9. How has God proved Himself trustworthy?

10. Has it ever felt like God let you down?    

11. What emotions (plural) are associated with trusting God?  What emotions increase, and what emotions decrease as trust grows?

12. Is it fair to say that a life spent trusting God is the best way to live?
Is it the best life for everyone?

Discussion Questions for October 7, 2018

Mark 2:13-17

 Activity: Diagram the scene – who's present?  Levi, Jesus, tax collectors, sinners, scribes (Pharisees), disciples. 

What does the text mean?

1. How would you summarize the major ideas of Mark thus far?

2. Who is Levi? What was his other name? What similarities do you see between Levi’s call and the call of the other four disciples (1:16-20)?

3. Why was Levi a surprising choice for Jesus to call? What does the fact that Jesus called a tax collector as one of His disciples convey about Jesus’ ministry?

4. In the first part of v.15, to whom do the “he” and “his” refer?

5. The dinner guests are described as “tax collectors and sinners.” What does this say about how tax collectors were viewed? Who were the “sinners” Jesus was reclining with?

6. What appears to be Jesus’ view of the dinner guests as compared to the Pharisees’ view? According to v.16, why were the Pharisees so upset about the party?

7. Why do you think the scribes posed their question to the disciples instead of directly to Jesus?

8. In v.17, what does Jesus mean by the “righteous” and “those who are well” and “sinners” and “those who are sick”?

9. Is Jesus saying that there are indeed those who are righteous and not in need of having their sins forgiven? Explain.

10. How would you paraphrase the big idea of Mark 2:13-17?

How does the text apply?

1. Have you ever felt judged by “religious” people? Explain.

2. What does it mean that we are saved by God's grace and how does that apply when
we are relating to other people?

3. How do you balance relating to and loving sinners without validating or condoning
their sin?

4. What does it mean to be a “friend of sinners”? In our culture, who are our “scribes”
and how do we recognize them? Who are the “tax collectors and sinners” that we despise
and ignore?

5. Who is a person in your life that comes to mind that might fit the category of “tax collectors and sinners” according to the definition of the text?

6. What can you do to get out of your comfort zone this week and meet this person where they are at?

Discussion Questions for September 30, 2018

Mark 2:1-12

What does it mean?

1.     In Mark 1, what does Jesus say his main focus is for why he is in the towns?  What seemed to happen in his ministry that prevented this from happening at times?


2.     Why and how is Jesus’ preaching interrupted? How does he react to this interruption?

3.     Why did they go to such great effort for Jesus to see this paralytic?

4.     How do you think the friends and the paralytic feels when Jesus announces: “Son, your sins are forgiven?” How about when Jesus heals him?

5.     Why do you think Jesus only said to the one man that his sins were forgiven instead of to all five?

6.     In your own words, what are the scribes thinking? What is the point of the question Jesus asks in reply?


7.     What does Jesus expect to prove to the scribes by healing the paralyzed man?


8.     How does the paralytic express his faith? How do the people react to his healing?


9.     In the previous passage, Jesus charged the leper to say nothing to anyone.  What is different with the healing of the paralytic?  Why?


10. How would you paraphrase the big idea in your own words?


How does it apply?

1.     To sum up briefly, what have you discovered about Jesus from this story? What impressed you the most, or what did you see for the first time?


2.     How much time do we spend thinking about our physical needs compared to our need for a supernatural work of God to be done in our hearts?


3.     Was there a time when the realization of being forgiven was so incredible that the other needs that were previously important, became less concerning?


4.     How do we help increase this realization of “forgiveness being everything” in our
day-to-day life?

  

Discussion Questions for September 23, 2018

Mark 1:35-45

What does it mean?

1.     How would you summarize Mark 1:1-13? Mark 1:14-34?

2.     In v35, how does Mark transition us to his next idea? Now that we have a change of scene, where does Jesus go?  Why do you think Jesus needed to pray?

3.     In v36, what do you think the disciples implied that Jesus should do? What does it appear they were focusing on?

 

4.     In v35-39, what seems surprising about Jesus’ reaction to his new popularity? What do we see to be Jesus’ priorities?

 

5.     In v40, what might a reader expect to come next, after Jesus declares that he came to preach? How does Jesus combine spiritual healing with all other forms of healing?

 

6.     In v.43, why does Mark tell the readers that Jesus warned the leper “sternly”?  Why did he not want the leper to speak of the miracle?
  

7.     In v.44, why do you think Jesus told the leper to fulfill the requirements of the Law by going to the priest to prove his complete healing?

 

8.     In v.45, why do you think the leper did not do as Jesus asked?

 

9.     How was Jesus’ mission compromised? Explain.

 

10.  How would you paraphrase the big idea of Mark 1:35-45?

 

How does it apply?

1.     What are your biggest needs? List your top five needs.

 

2.     Do you believe that our spiritual need is the biggest need we have?  Explain.

 

3.     Does this discount our physical, emotional, or social needs? Explain.

 

4.     Think of a defining story where you experienced Jesus meeting your spiritual need? Have you ever experienced Jesus meeting any of your other needs? Explain.

 

5.     How could you care for someone’s physical, emotional, or social needs this week as a reflection of your following Jesus’ example?  

 

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.

PRINT THE QUESTIONS

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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