LIFE HACKS - FLIP IT, WORRY INTO WORSHIP - WEEK 1

Flip Worry Into Worship

 

Series Big Idea:  Following Jesus by obeying His teachings makes me better at life. 

 

Teaching Big Idea: Flip your worry into worship. Flip “what if” into “what is”.

 

Begin in prayer:  Ask God to teach you how to trust him to win the war against worry.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  Finish the sentence:  Life would be so much better if___________________.   How would this change your daily life?

 

Scripture: 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

 

Questions:

In this passage, ‘the thief’ that Jesus is speaking of is the enemy of our souls.  

What are some obvious ways that the thief steals, kills, and destroys life to the full?   What are some more subtle ways?

How have you seen Jesus bring ‘life to the full’ even when circumstances didn’t change?   

 

Scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Questions:

How can you tell when you are anxious about something?   Is prayer your usual first response?

Why does thanking God in prayer matter?

Brainstorm practical ways to flip worry into worship.

 

Respond to the statement:  Fear is faith.    Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

 

Challenge: 

Commit to memorizing Philippians 4:6  

Name a time when you will put it into practice this week.     

 

Conclude in Prayer:  

Using single words or short sentences, express to God what you are thankful for.  Ask Him to make your faith in Him greater than your fear.

WHAT IF THE CHURCH - BLESS - WEEK 5 - STORY

Begin with prayer:  Ask God to prepare you to share your Jesus story with others.

Icebreaker:  Name the best question you have ever been asked.  How and why did you answer it…if you did?

Scripture:

2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you: I will make your name great, and you will be blessed…3 and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  Genesis 12:2-3 (NIV)

Observation:

In these verses God made an amazing promise to Abraham.  If you could ask Abraham one question, what would it be?  If you could tell him one thing, what would you say?

Name some simple questions that can invite another person to share their story with you.

Respond to the statement:  Once you know people’s story, it gives you context to understand them.  Why is this important?

Scripture: 

And to provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.  Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Observation:

Have you ever seen God give someone “beauty for ashes” or trade “a spirit of despair for a garment of praise”?  How does knowing that God can do these things influence your life?

Why is it important to include the wins and the wounds when we tell others about our story with Jesus?

Scripture:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

 

Challenge:  People are not projects—What are some practical ways we can insure that we don’t lose sight of why we BLESS others?  Which of these ideas would you be most likely to put into practice?

End with prayer:  Ask God to give you gentleness and respect as you share your Jesus story with others.

What If The Church - BLESS - Week 4 - SERVE

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work, and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  In order to BLESS, I will serve others more by thinking of myself less.

 

Begin in Prayer:  Ask God for wisdom to know how to think more like Jesus.

 

Talk it over:

Ice Breaker:  What are some popular phrases in American culture that communicate a self-focused attitude? 

 

Scripture:  

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  

Philippians 2:3-5 (NIV)

 

Questions:

Who are the ‘others’ where you live, work, and play?

What might it look like to serve them “out of selfish ambition”?  

Come up with some practical ways people could check their motives for serving.

 

Scripture:

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV)

 

Questions:

What are some temptations that might come with having a title?

Make a case for the following:  A title is an opportunity to serve.  Support your position with examples.

 

How do you feel when you hear the word, “sacrifice”?    What words come to mind?

 

Challenge:  Look for opportunities to practice:  sacrifice isn’t a loss, it’s an investment.  Commit to acting on what you find.

 

Conclude in Prayer: Seek God’s help to serve others more and think of yourself  less in the coming week.  

What If The Church- Week 3 - EAT!

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work, and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  Eating and drinking with others is a powerful expression of welcome and acceptance.

 

Begin in prayer:  Begin in prayer for each other.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  What are your favorite places to eat? Favorite foods?  When did you last eat with someone outside your family?

 

Scripture:

 “I will bless you…and you will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

 

 Questions:  

  • Have you experienced the blessing of being invited to eat with others?
  • What have you seen among people who don’t know each other well eating together?

 

Statement:  Sharing a meal is an act of grace:

 

Questions:

  • Why is sharing a meal an act of grace? 
  • How could you share a meal this week?
  • Who would you share it with?

 

Challenge:

Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. … Begin by opening your home for community … You don’t need a big program. … All you have to do is open your home and begin.

--Francis Schaeffer

 

Questions:

  • Could you open your home?
  • What is your next step?

 

Conclude in Prayer:  Pray for courage to share a meal this week.

What If The Church - Week 2 - Listen

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work, and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  Listening communicates love and acceptance .

 

Begin in prayer:  Thankfulness.  The people in your group.  The people where you live, work, and play.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  Why is it easier to listen to some people than others? 

Is it hardest to listen to others where we live, work, or play?  Why?

 

Scripture:

 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him.  When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41”What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.  Luke 18:40-41 (NIV)

 

 Questions:  

  • Do you think Jesus knew what the man wanted Him to do even before being asked?
  • Why do you think that Jesus posed the question to the blind man?

 

Respond to the following:  “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.”--David Oxberg 

 

Scripture:

18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.  20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  Luke 4:18-20 (NIV)

 

Questions:

  • What, if anything, would you have wanted to ask Jesus after hearing His words that day?  
  • How might knowing what Jesus came to do influence the way we talk with Him about those where we live, work, and play?

 

Conclude in Prayer:

Take time to pray for God’s help this week to listen first and talk less.

What If The Church - Week 1

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  Being a blessing begins with a prayer to join in the work God’s already doing.

 

Begin in prayer:  Thankfulness.  The people in your group.  The people where you live work and play.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  What are some blessings you enjoy living in your country?  Your city?  Your neighborhood?

How can you see yourself becoming a blessing where you live? Work?  Play?

 

Scripture:

 7As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:7–8 (NIV)

 

Statement:  The kingdom of heaven is Jesus’ vision of our world at peace under God’s authority, protection and provision.  

 

 Questions:  

  •  Can you see yourself “healing”, “raising the dead”, “driving out demons”?
  •  How might this apply if literal?  How might this look if metaphorical?
  •  Could you see yourself being generous with your time and money to help others who need help?  What if they need you to walk with them in desperate illness?
  •  What if they need you be strength for them as they lay in deep depression?
  •  What if they are outcasts in our society?
  •  What does it look like to “give” out of freedom?

 

Scripture:

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his field. 

Luke 10:1-2 (NIV)

Questions:

  • What, if anything, keeps you from seeing yourself as one of the sent workers?  
  • What difference does it make to know that God is already working in those He calls you to?

 

Conclude in Prayer:

Take time to pray that the Lord would show you the plentiful field where you live, work, and play.

Express Yourself (Week 3)

Series big Idea:

Regardless of what happens to me, I will be thankful for all Jesus has done for me.

Teaching Big Idea:

My gratitude is expressed through giving and always doing my best.

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER: Begin with thankfulness.

Talk it over:

ICE BREAKER      Where have you seen giving and excellence expressed in the past few weeks?

In what environment are you at your best?

SCRIPTURE:

 

1And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.2 Corinthians 8:1-4 (NIV)

1.     How is generosity difficult when you don’t have enough?

2.     How are joy and extreme poverty possible at the same time?

Scripture:

 

9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)

1.     How was Jesus rich?

2.     How did he become poor?

3.     What richness did he make available to you?

 

CONCLUDE:   How will you live from Gratitude this week?  Pray in thankfulness.

God Who Loves (Week3): Patiently Pursues

 

SERIES BIG IDEA:

God who loves invites me to rely on His love by accepting His love.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

God who loves patiently pursues me to forgive me and to be in relationship with me.
BEGIN IN PRAYER: Consider asking God for wisdom to understand His patient pursuing love.

TALK IT OVER:

ICE BREAKER: Talk about a time when you were pleasantly surprised by a greeting; hearing your name called out unexpectedly or receiving a thoughtful message. How did it feel to be the object of another’s kind intention?

1. How familiar were you with the parable of the “Prodigal Son” prior to the message? What new insights, if any, did you gain from this teaching on the parable?
2. Would you say you identify more with the younger son or the older son? Why?

SCRIPTURE:

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving t 

God Who Loves (Week 2): Creates

Series Big Idea

God who loves invites me to rely on His love by accepting His love.

Teaching Big Idea

God who loves created me on purpose with purpose.

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Consider praying for wisdom to understand God’s purpose in creating man in His image.

TALK IT OVER

Did you notice that you were accepting God’s love for you this week?  If yes, when were you aware of it?

What sort of messages might someone who has experienced rejection be tempted to believe about themselves?  Why do you think it is so easy to believe these messages?

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

  1. Why do you think it matters that we understand God created us in His image?
  2. Do you think most people see who they are as more important that what they do?
  3. How would you explain to someone, “who comes before do” because we are created in the image of God?

Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)

  1. Do you find it challenging to believe that God wants your love?  If yes, what makes it difficult?
  2. How do you feel when you hear the statement:  God doesn’t love me because He created me, God created me because He loves me?
  3. What is one thing you can do this week to respond to God’s love for you?

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39 (NIV)

  1. As a group, determine who your ‘neighbors’ are.
  2. Why do you think it can be so easy to lose focus on loving your neighbor?   What difference would it make to recall that others bear God’s image too?
  3. Name some practical ways you can love your neighbors this week.  How can this group support you?

CONCLUDE

Pray that this week God would help you to see that you were created by Him to be loved and to love.

God Who Loves (Week 1): Protects Imperfects

Series big Idea:

God Who loves invites me to rely on His love by accepting His love.

Teaching Big Idea:

Even though I fail, God who loves never fails me.

Begin this session in prayer.

Consider asking for patience as you learn to rely on God’s love.

Talk it over:

Do you remember the first time someone let you down?
What makes it hard for you to rely on people?

Consider this statement: When we paint God the way we picture people, we incorrectly perceive God.
How have you seen this play out in life?

Scripture

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16 (NIV)

Observation & Interpretation

1. Do you remember how you felt when you first understood that God loves you?
2. What has helped you to learn to rely on God’s love?

Scripture

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 2:25 (NIV)

Observation & Interpretation

1. How easy is it for you to recognize when someone is ‘blame shifting’?
2. Why do you think it’s so hard to fess up when we mess up?

Scripture

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

1. Discuss what it means that we don’t have to fear the shame of not being perfect.
2. How do you think natural consequences of sin are different from punishment?

Which would you say is most challenging for you in accepting God’s love:

....acknowledging my need for His mercy
…receiving His forgiveness
…not living in fear of shame

CONCLUDE

Pray for God to help you understand that He will never fail to love you.

 

The Best Question Ever Week 7

Series Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everything.  What is the wise thing to do?

Teaching Big Idea

I am wise when generosity is my priority.

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

 

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • How did you learn to manage money?  
  • Are you a saver or a spender?
  • What influences your spending decisions?
  • Does money occupy much or little of your thinking?

 

Consider this statement: Culture’s influence on how we spend our money creates unnecessary pressure which causes us to be unhappy.

    •     Do you feel pressure to have more things?
    •     How do you handle the temptation to spend more than you make?
    •     Does spending or saving make you happy?

 

DIG IN

Scripture

Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 (NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

Read and discuss:

    1. Can you remember the first time you gave money to someone or something?
    2. Discuss how you feel when you are generous.
    3. What is the most generous thing you ever been given.
    4. How easy is it to trust God with this?

 

Discuss how the way you handle money adds to God’s glory.

 

CONCLUDE

Pray for courage to come in step with God’s wisdom.

The Best Question Ever Week 6

Series Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everything. What is the wise thing to do?

Teaching Big Idea

I am wise when I make the most of my time by investing my time in what matters most.

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

How could looking at your bank statement and your calendar help you understand your priorities?

Can you name some priorities that are fixed and some that are flexible?

DIG IN

Scripture

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.  Job 14:5 (NIV)

“Determined” used in this passage means ‘set’ or ‘fixed’, something which God has put in place ahead of time and which we cannot alter.

Observation & Interpretation

Read and discuss:

1. How does culture influence people to ‘control’ the number of their days?

2. As a group, can you create a statement that summarizes what you have just discussed?

Scripture

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

 Psalm 39:4 (NIV)

Observation & Interpretation

1. Name some common regrets you’ve heard attributed to those who are near the end of their lives?

2. How could this verse influence your prayer life?

Observation & Interpretation

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

1. Discuss what it means to ‘number our days’.

2. How would you recognize ‘a heart of wisdom’?

Four areas of life where I may need to make daily deposits of time: spiritual/relational/health/professional

Which area is most difficult to keep in its proper place of priority? Why?

CONCLUDE

Pray for wisdom to know how to invest your time in what matters most.

The Best Question Ever Wk5

Series Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everything.  What is the wise thing to do?

Teaching Big Idea

I am wiser when in the company of the wise.

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

 

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • How has “wisdom” been evident during the past few weeks?
  • Discuss “Guardrails” that you have created since last week’s discussion.
  • Are relationships easy for you to develop?
  • Share one of the most important or influential relationships in your life.

 

 

DIG IN

Scripture

Whoever walks with wise people will be wise, but whoever associates with fools will suffer.  Proverbs 13:20 (GW)

 

Observation & Interpretation

Read and discuss:

    1. Have you seen this wisdom in your relationships?
    2. How have the wise influenced you?

 

Scripture

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.  Proverbs 12:26 (NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

  1. Do you look for friends or just hang with anyone? 
  2. How have the unwise influenced you?
  3. How can you find the wise?
  4. What steps will you take to join them?
  5. Write the name of one wise person you will ask to “walk” with you.

 

CONCLUDE

Pray for courage to come in step with God’s wisdom.

The Best Question Ever Wk4

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

 

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • Begin by agreeing to respect others while discussing this topic.  Many are quite sensitive to the language we use to discuss sex.  This would be a good time to prefer others over yourselves.
  • Discuss “Guardrails” that you have created since last week’s discussion.
  • Discuss the line between right and wrong regarding sexuality.  How have you decided where to draw it?  
  • Where did you find guidelines for this?

 

DIG IN

Scripture

“I have the right to do anything,” you say - but not everything is beneficial.  “I have the right to do anything” - but i will not be mastered by anything.  You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”  The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  I Corinthians 6:12-13(NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

Read and discuss:

    1. How do “rights” and wisdom connect in this passage?
    2. What does it look like for something to “master” you?

 

Scripture

But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  I Corinthians 7:2(NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

  1. Discuss the author’s prescription for sexual immorality.
  2. What is the guardrail here?    

 

Scripture

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.  I Corinthians 6:19-20(NIV)

 

A temple is a place where God’s presence meets human presence.  The author now states that our bodies are that kind of place when the Holy Spirit lives in us.

 

  1. In light of this statement discuss how being a “temple” impacts decisions we face.
  2. What is the “price”?
  3. Discuss how the actions you take Honor or dishonor God.

CONCLUDE

Pray for courage to come in step with God’s wisdom.

The Best Question Ever Wk 3

Series Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everything.  What is the wise thing to do?

Teaching Big Idea

Guardrails protect me from the harmful route and direct me to the wise way out.

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

 

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • Talk about the standards of behavior you see around you.
  • Do you notice “guardrails”?  Explain.

 

DIG IN

Scripture

 

Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit…Ephesians 5:15-18 (NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

 

“Debauchery” used in this passage has the sense of too much/overindulgence that leads to a loss of control.  It is connected with vs. 17 and living as unwise and foolishly.

Read and discuss:

    1. What does the author think leads to debauchery, “wine” or “drunk”?
    2. As a group create a statement of principle from this passage which could become a guardrail for you.
    3. Discuss how it could be applied where you live, work or play.

 

Scripture

 

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And god is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  1Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)

 

Observation & Interpretation

 

  1. Discuss how “standing firm”, “fall” and “temptation are connected in the above passage.
  2. Discuss how temptation is common to mankind.
  3. If God provides a “way out” how will you see it.    

 

Four areas of life to Guard

    Relationships/Priorities/Character/Influence

    Identify one area that needs a guardrail.  Take a few minutes to craft a guardrail statement to address this.

 

    Pray for wisdom to build guardrails!

February 12: Here's Your Sign

The Best Question Ever
“Here’s Your Sign” | February 12, 2017

Series Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everything. What is the wise thing to do?

Teaching Big Idea

Jesus give me the wisdom to know what to do and give me the courage to do it.

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  •  How did you see wisdom this week?

  •  How did you see foolishness?

  •  How do you know it was foolish?

    DIG IN

    Proverbs describes at least four types of people: The Wise, The Simple, The Fool and The Mocker.

    Read the passage and discuss these together.

    The Wise:

    Scripture

    Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 (NLT)

    Observation & Interpretation

    Read vs.7 and discuss:

    1. What does the writer mean by “the foundation”?

    2. What might untrue knowledge be?

    3. What does it mean to despise wisdom? Discipline?

    Scripture

    Fear of the lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement. Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)

    Observation & Interpretation

    Read vs.10
    The word “Knowledge” in the bible is often side by side with “wisdom” and glory. Put together they begin to show that God is beyond seeing the end of. Knowledge of his wisdom and glory includes questions of “how’”and “why” everything works as it does, is as it is, and why. The phrase “Fear of the Lord” includes a sense of awe at the vast and deep nature of God and a subsequent respect for his ways.

    In light of the above statement discuss the following:

    1. What is Knowledge of the Holy One?

    2. Discuss “Fear of the Lord”.

    3. How might this view of God result in good judgement and make one wise?

The Simple:

Scripture

“Come in with me, “she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgement, she says...Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
Proverbs 9:4,6 (NLT)

Observation & Interpretation

“Wisdom” is speaking to the simple. It is also translated “naive” and in the context of “youth” and “foolishness”.

  1. What are some dangers to the simple in our culture?

  2. Why are “simple” and “naive” connected with being young?

The Fool:

A fool in Proverbs is a description of someone who is morally foolish. They choose to ignore wisdom to their own hurt. This affects those around them as well.

1. How do the actions of a fool affect others? 2. How do you deal with a foolish person?

The Mocker:

Scripture

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
Proverbs 9:7-9 (NLT)

Observation & Interpretation

1. Where do you find “mockers” in our culture? 2. How do you interact with them?
3. How does that turn out?
4. How does a wise person respond?

Pray

Pray together as a group. Ask for wisdom. Ask for courage.

Resource: Ask It by Andy Stanley
 

February 5: One Question - Ask It

Series Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everytthing.  What is the wise thing to do?

Teaching Big Idea

One Question That Changes Everything: What is the wise thing to do?

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Begin this session in prayer. Consider asking for humility in the face of God’s teachings. Pray for wisdom.

 

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • Who are some wise people in your life?
  • What makes them wise?

 

Scripture

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)

Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

 

Observation & Interpretation

  • Read vs.15 -16. In light of this statement:
    1. What does the writer mean by “Be very careful, then, how you live”?
    2. Why would this be important to him?  To You? 
    3. What might “the days are evil” refer to?

 

Application

  • Discuss the following questions:
  1.   Is there anything wrong with it?
  2.   How far can I go before it’s wrong?
  3.   How long can I go before there are harmful consequences?
  • Where do these questions lead?

 

  • Discuss the GRID:
  1. In light of my past experiences, what is the wise thing to do?
  2. In light of current situation, what is the wise thing to do?
  3. In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do?

 

  • How do the above questions differ?

 

 

Pray

Pray together as a group.  Ask for wisdom.

 

Resource:  Ask It by Andy Stanley

 

May 15: Yank the Plank

Series Big Idea
Modeling Jesus’ teachings builds a stronger family.

Teaching Big Idea
Before I expect it in you, you must see it in me.

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • Describe some ways you have been judged by others. Do you feel as though you were judged unfairly?

Scripture
Scriptures for today include Matthew 5:13-16, 7:1-5, John 7:24

Observation & Interpretation

  • Read Matthew 5:13-16. As Christ followers, we are called the “salt of the earth”, and the “light of the world”.
    • With this in mind, isn't it the job of a Christ follower to shine a light on the sin happening around you? Explain your thinking about this question.
  • Read John 7:24. During the Festival of Tabernacles, Jesus said, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly” (NLT).
    • How does this scripture fit with Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:1, when He says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”?
    • How can you “judge correctly” without condemning or looking down on others?
  • By what measures do you find yourself judging others? How do you measure up against those standards?
  • Evaluate the statement: “Before I point out your sin, I need to look for traces within.”
    • Describe ways you can look for traces of sin within yourself. Name some practical habits that will help you evaluate your own spiritual health.

Application
Focusing on what is wrong with others distracts you and I from focusing on what is not right within ourselves. In order to be a person who can “judge correctly”, I must first inspect my own motives, actions, words, etc. I must “yank the plank” from my own eye, before I can begin to help someone else see the sin in their life, and encourage them to change their ways. If I don't take care of my own shortcomings first, I am a hypocrite (Matthew 7:5).

Take action

  • Earlier, you were asked to name some practical habits that will help you to evaluate your own spiritual health. Now, let's move beyond identifying habits to making a plan to implement them. Choose one or two habits to practice this week. Consider writing them down as a reminder of your resolve to “yank the plank”, and post them somewhere that you see will see them daily. 
  • Have you judged someone unfairly, perhaps a family member? Confess your judgment to them, and ask this person for forgiveness.
  • Ask God to reveal to you sin that you need to deal with. Ask Him to help you consistently practice the habits you wrote down, so that the outcome of these habits will be a blessing to others, as well as to you.

Yank the Plank

  • First, I need to inspect myself before I expect it from others.
  • Second, I chose my approach by leading with grace and then truth.
  • I need to remember that seeing a speck in you is a cue to yank my plank.

Pray
Pray together, encouraging one another in love and grace.

May 8: Secret Service


Series Big Idea
Modeling Jesus’ teachings builds a stronger family.

Teaching Big Idea
Practicing generosity, prayer, and sacrifice only to be seen by God models what is most rewarding.

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • Describe some examples of ways to practice generosity. 
  • Now think of ways you practice generosity, prayer or sacrificial living. Are you more likely to do so in private, or publicly?

Scripture
Matthew 4:1-11
Matthew 6:1-34
Matthew 7:7-12

Observation & Interpretation

  • What do these scriptures reveal of the importance practicing generosity, prayer and sacrifice in secret?
  • How were these modeled in your own family?
  • Why is practicing this in secret so important to God? Doesn’t practicing generosity publicly encourage others to give generously? Discuss.
  • Think back to a time when your acts of giving, serving, or prayer were misconstrued by others as a desire for attention or praise. What was your response?

Application
The purpose of fasting is to surrender your needs for God’s will and what He wants to do in you. In a way, you are letting God know that you are relying on Him for your needs, rather than on your own abilities.

  • Would you consider fasting as a way to connect with God; to replace your own wants for what God wants to do in you? 
  • Describe what fasting secretly (privately) looks like?
  • What outcomes would you hope would happen as a result of fasting?

Secret Service

  • Resist the urge to announce your service and God will reward it.
  • God rewards secret generosity by meeting our needs. (Matthew 6:19-34)
  • God rewards secret prayers by answering them (Matthew 7:7-12)
  • God rewards fasting by making us more like Jesus. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Take action

  • Make a plan to serve someone (family, friend, coworker, etc.) this week, without making your service public. Note the effect this act has on your relationship with God.
  • Take time to observe your family, friends, and coworkers. Note ways you can serve them, and then do it.

Pray
Pray together, encouraging one another.

May 1: Say It & Do It

Series Big Idea
Modeling Jesus’ teachings builds a stronger family.

Teaching Big Ideas
Families are supposed to be built on trust. Love is built on trust. Trust is built on keeping your commitments.

TALK IT OVER

Ice Breaker

  • Give an example of your childhood family model. What was your family like?
  • How was truthfulness modeled to you within your family?

Scripture
Scriptures for today include: Matthew 5:31-37, John 4:24, and John 8:32

Observation & Interpretation

  • How important to you is it to mean what you say? How about for others to mean what they say? Explain.
  • Read Matthew 5:31-37. How difficult is it for you to stay true to your word?
  • Why does God care so much about truthfulness? What does the scripture reveal about His character?
  • Describe the significance of faithfulness and the marriage covenant. Why does God value marriage so much?
  • We all make mistakes. How difficult is it for you to be completely open and truthful to God and others when you’ve “blown it”?
  • Read John 4:24. Our words and actions, when done with truth, can be offered to God as acts of worship.
    • Do you think words and actions can still be offered to God as worship, without the presence of truth? Explain your reasoning.
  • Read John 8:32. Tell about a time when being truthful was a freeing experience.
  • Did the experience encourage an increase of truthfulness in your life?

 Application
Take action

  • Are there areas in your life in which you are being dishonest in living out your faith?
    • If your answer is “yes”, confess your dishonesty to the group.
  • Commit to repentance. In other words, run from dishonesty and embrace truth. Enlist someone in your group who will follow up with you in the coming week. Be honest with them when they ask you questions.

Pray
Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal areas or patterns of dishonesty or deception in your life. Pray for a receptive heart; one that seeks truth.