Finding Hope-Part I

Series: Finding Hope

Title: Part 1

Date: April 22/23, 2017

Speaker: Geoff Surratt

 

Big Idea:

Past failure doesn’t determine future hope. With failure there is a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad. Dealing with shame requires reaching out to others and owning the story. Remember: Hope is restored in relationship.

Passage: John 21:1-17

Discuss It:

·       Read John 21:1-17

·       Concerning shame, Brene Brown states, “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”. In what ways have you experienced this dynamic in your own life?

·       Concerning guilt, she states, “We feel guilty when we hold up something we’ve done or failed to do against our values and find they don’t match up. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but one that’s helpful.” Have you ever experienced guilt as being helpful in your journey?

·       How would you describe the difference between shame and guilt?

·       In verse 15, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” If the ‘these’ refers to anything keeping us from experiencing God’s love or anything we pursue more than Jesus, what comes to mind when you think of the ‘these’ in your own life?

·       As Jesus restores Peter, we see that Peter’s failures do not overcome who Jesus is and Jesus’ plan for Peter’s life. How does this truth speak into your own failures and shortcomings in life?

·       When Peter answers Jesus’ question, what does Jesus tell him to do? (v. 16-17)

·       In what ways does being in community overcome shame in our life?

·       In what ways does being in community encourage hope for the future?

·       How is the hope level in your life?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Easter

Series: Easter

Date: April 14-16, 2017

Speaker: Steve Garcia

 

Big Idea:

Even when all seems darkest, God can do the impossible! With the resurrection, Jesus proved that death is not the end and the story is not over. Anything is possible with God.

Passage: John 20:1-18, 30-31

Discuss It:

·      Do you have a favorite underdog or come from behind story or experience?

·      What is some exciting news you’ve heard in the last few weeks?

·      Read John 20:1-18, 30-31

·      What did Peter and John discover when they arrived at the tomb? (v. 4-7)

·      What did Mary and the disciples do after seeing that Jesus’ body was gone? (v. 10-11)

·      How do you usually respond to life’s unexpected events?

·      If you had been Mary, Peter, or John, what thoughts would have run through your mind when you discovered the empty tomb?

·      How do you think Mary felt when she realized she was talking to Jesus?

·      Has there ever been a time when you were exceptionally thrilled about your relationship with Jesus? If so, why was that?

·      Why reason does John give for recording the miraculous signs about Jesus? (v. 30-31)

·      What is the result of believing in Jesus, the Son of God? (v. 31)

Apply It:

·      What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·      What will help you remember it?

·      Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Exiled-Part IV

Series: Exiled

Title: Part 4

Date: April 8-9, 2017

Speaker: Peter Barber

 

Big Idea:

In spite of all evidence to the contrary, God is still in control. When living as an exile (a stranger in a strange land), we can expect opposition, criticism, and persecution. In this situation, we are face with temptation. Will your circumstances determine your convictions? Or, will your convictions shape your circumstance?

Passage: Daniel 6:1-28

Discuss It:

·       Have you gone through a time in your life when hope was challenged and trusting God was difficult? What happened?

·       Read Daniel 6:1-28

·       What was the only way that the leaders were able to find fault with Daniel? (V. 4-5)

·       What was the decree made by King Darius? (v. 6-7)

·       What did Daniel do when he learned about the decree? (v. 10)

·       What happened to Daniel when put in the lion’s den? (v. 21-22)

·       Have you ever experienced opposition or criticism because of your faith, belief, or conviction? What was that like for you?

·       When are you most tempted to let circumstances determine your convictions?

·       When all evidence is to the contrary, what helps you hold onto the belief that God is still in control?

·       In your own words, what did King Darius say about Daniel’s God? (v. 26-27)

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Exiled-Part III

Series: Exiled

Title: Part 3

Date: April 1-2, 2017

Speaker: Steve Garcia

 

Big Idea:

When following God, he will lead us into the fire and he will lead us out of it. When we are in the fire we can trust that we are not alone.

Passage: Daniel 3:1-30; 1 Peter 1:6-7

Discuss It:

·       What kind of temptations have you faced where the majority was engaging in a behavior that was wrong?

·       What kind of reasons do we sometimes give for why we “have” to do the same as everyone else?

·       Read Daniel 3:1-30

·       What were all the people commanded to do? (v. 5-6)

·       What would happen to anyone that did not worship the golden image? (v. 11)

·       How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respond to the king’s command? (v. 16-19)

·       What do you think helped these three young men to stand and make such a courageous statement?

·       What did the king see when he looked into the fire? (v. 24-25)

·       Have you ever felt the presence of Jesus with you in a fire?

·       What do you think happens when our faith is tested by fire?

o   What are the challenges, dangers, or temptations?

o   What are the benefits? (Consider 1 Peter 1:6-7)

·       What will empower you to stand during times of suffering or crises?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Exiled-Part II

Series: Exiled

Title: Part 2

Date: March 25-26, 2017

Speaker: Steve Garcia

 

Big Idea:

“God is at work in my tomorrow. So I won’t quit today.” Difficult circumstances can cause us to want to escape at all costs, or simply give up. But what if the very thing God wants to do in and through you can only happen as you journey through difficulty? Daniel’s example shows us what God can do when we…

1.      Lean in - to the “new normal” we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves

2.      Bow down - plead with God to equip us for the situation

3.      Hold out - trust that our faithfulness matters in ways we haven’t even considered

Passage: Daniel 2:1-23; 46-49

 

Discuss It:

1.    Do you tend to resist change or look forward to it? What’s the most recent personal change you’ve gone through?

2.    What is one of the crazier dreams you’ve had?

3.    Read Daniel 2:1-19. Steve said that Daniel’s request for more time to interpret the dream represented an important decision on his part to “lean in” to his life in exile.

a.    Why might it have been tempting to simply accept the king’s death sentence?

b.    When circumstances come your way that seem beyond your control, do you more naturally accept them or take a stand against them?

4.    Daniel and his friends pleaded with God to reveal the king’s dream. How natural is it for you to pray in response to crises?

5.    Read Daniel 2:20-23. Daniel understood that God was working through this specific set of events to accomplish a specific purpose. Do you think that is the case with all world events? In other words, do you believe that God is directly orchestrating everything that happens in the world? Why or why not?

6.    Read Daniel 2:46-49. Daniel’s faithfulness paid off in a big way. In retrospect, he could now see the good that God brought from the crisis. As you look back on difficult seasons in your life, are there beneficial results you can see now that were not apparent to you at the time? Would you say that those benefits are worth the hardship you endured?

7.    Steve said, “sometimes God will choose you to be an exile so that he can use you to be an example.” What opportunities do you have in this season of your life (ie. your current career, family stage, location, etc.) to be an example of faithfulness to God?

 

Apply It:

●      What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

●      What will help you remember it?

●      Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Exiled - Part I

Series: Exiled

Title: Part 1

Date: March 18-19, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

How do you respond in crises and when you find your self in place you did not intend to be. The challenge is that we all draw lines that separate us from others. Daniel’s story helps us to thoughtfully consider where those lines are and why we place them where we do. Remember, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, God is still in control.

Passage: Daniel 1:1-19; Jeremiah 29:4-7

Discuss It:

·      Have you ever found yourself in a place where you felt like you did not belong?

·      Have you ever been in a place where you felt unsure of how to live our your faith or convictions in a practical way?

·      Read Daniel 1:1-19

·      For the Hebrew culture someone’s name was very significant and tied to their identity. All four of their names were connected to the their view of God and their new names were all connected to the Babylonian gods. In you opinion, was accepting the new names a compromise on their values or picking what was important to focus on?

·      Where did Daniel decide that he would draw the line? (v. 8)

·      What helps you decide whether to go along with something or where you will draw the line in relation to your faith and values?

·      How you ever experienced someone drawing a line and it created a wall to keep you out? What was that like for you?

·      When you draw a line does it feel like a wall to keep others out or an invitation for others to connect in conversation?

·      How did Daniel draw the line but invite conversation and connection? (v. 8)

·      What are some ways that you could draw a line but remain open to conversation?

·      For Daniel, this probably felt like a crises, but we see God working behind the scenes to bring about his purposes and plans. What area in your life do you have a difficult time believing that God is still in control and working behind the scenes?

·      Is there an area where you need to surrender control to God?

Apply It:

·      What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·      What will help you remember it?

·      Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

The Way You Think-Part IV

Series: The Way You Think

Title: Part 4

Date: March 11-12, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

Very few of us have enemies. But, most of us have people in our lives who: oppose us, irritate us, or make us uncomfortable. The problem is that most of us don’t know how to disagree without being disagreeable. How we respond to our enemies says more about us than it says about them. Remember, Jesus attracted people who were very different from him and he loved them with action.

Passage: Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 11:19

Discuss It:

·       What advice would you give to someone who wanted some practical wisdom on how to get along with others?

·       Read Romans 12:9-21

·       What down-to-earth advice did Paul give? What advice most resonated with you?

·       In what ways ought we treat others as more important than ourselves?

·       With whom does God want us to live at peace? (v. 18)

·       In what ways is Christian love more than emotion?

·       How does doing good to an enemy overcome evil?

·       Read Matthew 11:19

·       Do the people who are very different from you enjoy your company?

·       If what ways do you attract people who are different from you?

·       What would need to happen for others to be more comfortable around you and enjoy your company?

·       What could you do this week to put your love in action for someone that is different from you?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

The Way You Think-Part III

Series: The Way You Think

Title: Part 3

Date: March 4-5, 2017

Speaker: Peter Barber

 

Big Idea:

The Pattern to Change is: SEE – FEEL – CHANGE. If we want to engage our emotions in the change process then empathy is the key. Empathy requires focusing on and seeing others, who they really are and their struggles. Empathy helps us see where we are and pick a new direction. One way to grow in empathy is to ask others: “How is it for you?” and then listen deeply.

Passage: Romans 12:1-8

Discuss It:

·       What gifts (skills, talents, or qualities) has God given to you?

·       Read Romans 12:1-8

·       How are we to think about our self? (v. 3)

·       What helps you to have an honest assessment of your life and circumstances?

·       What did Paul use the human body to illustrate? (v. 4-5)

·       How should each person use his or her gifts? (v. 6-8)

·       Have you experienced the connection between using your gifts for someone else and growing in empathy?

·       What would it be like for you, if you asked others the question: “How is it for you?”

·       Who is someone you could ask this week?

·       How can you put one of your gifts to work for others this week?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

The Way You Think-Part II

Series: The Way You Think

Title: Part 2

Date: February 25-26, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

Most of the time we don’t think much about change until we wish we had a different life. When it comes to change we must let God transform us and we must not copy the customs of this world. We must look at our wants and try to line them up with what God wants.

Passage: Romans 12:1-2, 9-21

Discuss It:

·       What advice would you give someone who wanted some practical wisdom on becoming a better person?

·       Read Romans 12:1-2, 9-21

·       Verses 9-21 give a glimpse of what love in action looks like and what God wants in our life. Is there a phrase or instruction that feels significant to you? Why?

·       From this passage, what does genuine love look like? What are some of the characteristics of love? (v. 9, 13, 18-21)

·       How is a Christian supposed to treat an enemy or someone they dislike? (v. 17-21)

·       How are Christians supposed to over evil? (v. 21)

·       In your own life, where do you struggle to want what God wants?

·       This week, what would help you to grow in what God wants in your life?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

The Way You Think-Part I

Series: The Way You Think

Title: Part 1

Date: February 18-19, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

There is a complex relationship between what we think and what we feel. The way we think and feel impacts our life and our ability to change.

Passage: Romans 12:1-2

Discuss It:

·       What influences have significantly shaped your life?

·       Read Romans 12:1-2

·       What is the most reasonable response to God’s great mercy? (v. 1)

·       How is the Christian to be different from non-believers? (v. 2)

·       How should our minds (thoughts, feelings, wants) be changed? (v. 2)

·       How can we discern and know the will of God? (v. 2)

·       What makes offering our bodies as living sacrifices an act of worship?

·       What patterns of the world are you tempted to conform to?

·       What is one step you can take this week toward eliminating habits that merely conform to the world’s pattern? Consider renewing your thoughts, feelings, and wants.

·       How might you offer your life this week as an act of worship?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

He Is I'm Not-Part VI

Series: He Is I’m Not

Title: Part 6

Date: February 4-5, 2017

Speaker: Steve Garcia

 

Big Idea:

There are times in life when it is very difficult to understand what Jesus is doing. When circumstances feel darkest, Jesus reminds us that he is the resurrection and he is life. We must remember that resurrection doesn’t begin when we pass to the next life…but when we surrender in this one.

Passage: John 11:1-44

Discuss It:

·       What polite phrases do we use to describe death?

·       In what different ways do people respond when a loved one dies?

·       Read John 11:1-16

·       Why did Jesus say Lazarus was sick? (v. 4)

·       Why did Jesus say that He was glad He wasn’t with Lazarus? (v. 14)

·       Read John 11:17-37

·       What did Martha say to Jesus about His having come after Lazarus had died? (v. 21-22)

·       What did Jesus say would happen to those who believed in Him? (v. 26)

·       Read John 11:38-44

·       How did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? (v. 43-44)

·       Has there even been a time when you thought you had a better plan for your life than the one God was working out?

·       Have you ever been disappointed with God?

·       Why do we tend to second-guess God concerning what should happen in life?

·       Have you ever seen God perform a miracle and work out a seemingly impossible situation?

·       What specific situation do you need to trust God to work out in your life?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

He Is I'm Not-Part V

Series: He Is I’m Not

Title: Part 5

Date: February 4-5, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

In the life’s journey, we would all love a map showing the way. However, Jesus does not give us a map, he gives us a person: himself. Jesus gives us relationship and walks with us in all of life, including the most painful and confusing parts of the journey. Throughout the journey we are called to follow Jesus, which means to be in a relationship with him and to be constantly dependent on him.

Passage: John 14:4-6; Matthew 16:24-26

Discuss It:

·       Have you ever been lost on a journey? What did you experience?

·       Read John 14:4-6

·       Have you ever wished that you had a map for the journey of life?

·       Have your expected God to show up in your journey in a specific way, but it didn’t turn out like you thought it would? What was that like for you?

·       For you, what does Jesus mean when he says “I am the way”?

·       Read Matthew 16:24-26

·       If someone wants to be a disciple of Jesus, what must they do? (v. 24)

·       What does it mean to you to “take up your cross” and follow Jesus?

·       In what situations do you find it difficult to follow Jesus?

·       According to Jesus, what is the worth or value of your soul? (v. 26)

·       If our soul is worth more than the entire world, how might that affect our priorities and our daily decisions?

·       For you, what is the next step in following Jesus?

·       Is there something Jesus has called you to do that you are putting off?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

He Is I'm Not-Part IV

Series: He Is I’m Not

Title: Part 4

Date: January 28-29, 2017

Speaker: Jeff Cole

 

Big Idea:

Jesus says he is the doorway to a rich and satisfying life, and the good shepherd who sacrifices his life for us. However, believing these things about Jesus might require that we set our own interests and agendas aside in order to follow where he leads.

Passages: John 10:1-21; Psalm 23

Discuss It:

      Think about someone who has been a guide or helper for you in your life. What did that person do or say that helped you or provided guidance when you needed it?

      Read John 10:1-21

      This week we are looking at Jesus’ parallel statements “I am the gate” (John 10:7) and “I am the good shepherd” (10:11). In Jesus’ day, animals were often kept in a courtyard that was enclosed by a wall and was attached to a building. The sheep were led into the courtyard through a gate which kept them secure and safe. What sort of contrast does Jesus make between himself as the gate and the thieves & robbers in verses 7-10?

      What things in your life tend to “steal, kill, and destroy”?

      How does Jesus’ striking statement in verse 10 shed light on His purpose as the gate?

      Jesus contrasts the good shepherd and the hired hand in verses 11-13. What are the main differences? What does this tell you about who Jesus is?

      Jesus twice mentions the idea of the good shepherd as one who “lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11 and 17). What do you think Jesus meant by this? What do you think this means for those of us who follow him?

      What does Jesus mean in v. 16 when He says He has other sheep not of this sheep pen? Who are these sheep?

      Read Psalm 23 aloud. This is a powerful picture of the Lord as our shepherd. Share one specific area of your life where you need Jesus to be your shepherd. Pray for one another about these things.

Apply It:

      What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

      What will help you remember it?

      Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

He Is I'm Not-Part III

Series: He Is I’m Not

Title: Part 3

Date: January 21-22, 2017

Speaker: Ben Patterson

 

Big Idea:

In an impromptu meeting alongside the Sea of Galilee, Jesus made statements that difficult for many followers to come to grips with and so they walked away, the boldest statement being that He was the Bread of Life. Peter was given the chance to walk away as well and replied, “Where else would we go?” Every single day we will choose our response to Jesus, what will your response be today?

Passage: John 6:25-69

Discuss It:

·       When you go to a sandwich shop (like Subway), what type of bread do you get?

·       Read John 6:25-69.

·       Your perception of God determines your pursuit of God. What is your perception of who God is?

·       Jesus said the work of God is to first believe. Is this easy or hard for you (John 6:28-29)

·       Have you ever asked God to give you a sign? (John 6:30-31)

·       Jesus said he is the bread of life and anyone who comes to him will not be hungry or thirsty. What gets in the way of going to Jesus? (John 6:35-36)

·       Jesus always gives us the choice to follow him (John 6:67). How do you go about making an active decision each day to follow Jesus? When is it hard to follow Jesus? What are some things that get in the way or lead you astray?

·       The “How God Works (I Think)” Chart is: Impossible -> Trust -> Obey -> Blessing.
How has God worked this way in your life?

·       Have you experienced a miracle or blessing from God? If so, share.

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

He Is I'm Not-Part II

Series: He Is I’m Not

Title: Part 2

Date: January 14-15, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

If it feels like God is changing things in your life, you could be in a season of pruning. Pruning is a natural part of the growth process. It allows essential nutrients to be effective and useful. Throughout the process we are called to “remain in” Jesus, which means to be in a relationship with and to be constantly dependent on him. To remain in Jesus, we learn the words of Jesus and practice living the words of Jesus. Remaining in Jesus allows the Holy Spirit to produce good fruit in our life.

Passages: John 15:1-5; Galatians 5:22-23

Discuss It:

·       Is there a fruit that you enjoy eating?

·       Read John 15:1-5

·       What happens to branches that bear fruit? (v. 2)

·       For what purpose are branches pruned? (v. 2)

·       How would you respond to the statement: “If it feels like God is changing things in your life, you could be in a season of pruning.”

·       How have you experienced pruning in your own life?

·       Read Galatians 5:22-23

·       Why is fruit a good description of the Spirit's work in us? (v. 22-23)

·       Of the fruit listed, do any feel more challenging than the others?

·       Which of the fruit would you like to see more of in your life?

·       To remain in Jesus, we learn his words and practice living his words. How have you seen this to be true in your own life?

·       What have you found to be helpful in learning and living the words of Jesus?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

He Is I'm Not-Part I

Series: He Is I’m Not

Title: Part 1

Date: January 7-8, 2017

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

The nature of your relationship with God is tightly connected to your perceptions of who God is. We need to align our perceptions of God with Jesus, because he reveals God to us. Most of us have something missing in our understand of God and Jesus. Jesus gives us practical and tangible descriptions of who he is and what he does. We need to wrestle with the question, “Would you like to know who Jesus is?”

Challenge: Do something practical and tangible to deepen your connection to the Vine (Jesus).

Passages: John 15:1-5

Discuss It:

·       When you think of God, what comes to mind (i.e. characteristics, traits, images, etc.)?

·       What has influenced and impacted your perceptions about God?

·       How have your perceptions of God changed over time?

·       Read John 15:1-5

·       What does the vine represent? (v. 5)

·       What do the branches represent? (v. 5)

·       What can we learn about our relationship with Jesus from the illustration of the vine and branches? What does the nature of the vine and branches indicate?

·       What must we do if we want to bear fruit in life? (v. 5)

·       For you, what does it look like to remain connected to the vine?

·       Have you made the decision to pay attention to your relationship with Jesus in 2017?

·       If so, what practical and tangible thing are you doing this week to deepen connection with him? (i.e. using the reading guide, talking with God throughout your day, journey with others, etc.)

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Fresh Start-Part I

Series: Fresh Start

Title: Fresh Start

Date: December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017

Speaker: Jason McBride

 

Big Idea:

Our failures and shortcomings in life do not overcome who God is and his calling upon our life. Jesus wants to forgive and heal our failures from 2016. As we receive Jesus love and grace into our life, he wants us to share his love with others in 2017. If we want to be about what matters most in the new year, then we will be about love others well.

Passages: John 21; John 13:34-35

Discuss It:

·       How was 2016 for you?

·       At the end of a year, do you spend time evaluating and processing the previous year?

·       What do you hope for or dream about for 2017?

·       Read John 21:3-17

·       What do you think it was like for Peter to experience the miraculous fish catch for a second time? (There was a miraculous fish catch the first time Peter met Jesus and Jesus called him as a follower – Luke 5:1-11)

·       In verse 15, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” If the ‘these’ refers to anything keeping us from experiencing God’s love or anything we pursue more than Jesus, what comes to mind when you think of the ‘these’ in your own life?

·       As Jesus restores Peter, we see that Peter’s failures do not overcome who Jesus is and Jesus’ plan for Peter’s life. How does this truth speak into your own failures and shortcomings in life?

·       When Peter answers Jesus’ question, what does Jesus tell him to do? (v. 16-17)

·       Read John 13:34-35

·       How would you restate John 13:34-35 in your own words?

·       As you think about the new year, how might Jesus words influence your thoughts, choices, and priorities?

·       Jason challenged everyone to regularly ask the question, “What does love require of me?” and then go and do that. Where could you incorporate this question into your life?

·       What do you think would happen if you started asking this question every day?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Surprised by Christmas-Part IV

Series: Surprised by Christmas

Title: Part 4

Date: December 23-25, 2016

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

Waiting: What if God only does certain things when we are waiting? What if what matters most is how we wait? Christmas teachings us that waiting is part of God’s plan. All of us are waiting for something. Remember, God never asks us to wait without him.

Fulfilled Promises: Sometimes we do not get what we expect, but God always gives us what we need. Christmas reminds us that God has not forgotten the deepest needs of his children. When we see what God has done, we learn to trust him to keep all his promises.

Passages: Luke 2:22-40; Isaiah 40:27-31; Romans 8:22-25; James 1:17

Discuss It:

·      Describe a time when you got something for Christmas (or even a birthday) that was unexpected.

·      Read Isaiah 40:27-31

·      How might the description of God, in verses 28-29, help during a season of waiting?

·      What happens for those who learn to wait upon the Lord? (v. 31)

·      For you, what does it mean or look like to wait upon the Lord?

·      Read Luke 2:22-40

·      What special significance did Jesus’ arrival have for Simeon? (v. 26-29)

·      What did Simeon indicate about God’s promise to his people? (v. 30-32)

·      In what ways are Simeon and Anna examples to us concerning waiting? (ie. Waiting eagerly & expectantly, trusting, hoping, anticipating, etc.)

·      In what ways has God fulfilled his promises to you?

·      How does remembering God’s fulfilled promises, especially his meeting our greatest need through Jesus, influence your perspective on waiting?

Apply It:

·      What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·      What will help you remember it?

·      Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

 

Surprised by Christmas-Part III

Series: Surprised by Christmas

Title: Part 3

Date: December 17-18, 2016

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

Do not be afraid, for God loves us!

Passages: 1 John 4:15-19; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:12, 29-30; Luke 2:9-10

Discuss It:

·       There are at least 530 identified phobias. What are you afraid of?

·       Living in a fallen world with so much we cannot control, some would say, “If you are not paralyzed by anxiety then you’re simply not paying attention.” How would you respond to this statement?

·       Read Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:12

·       What is the common emotion when someone encounters God or angel?

·       Read 1 John 4:15-19

·       What is true of any one that acknowledges that Jesus is the son of God? (v. 15)

·       Why is love important? (v. 16-17)

·       How is love made complete? (v. 17)

·       What does perfect love do? Why? (v. 18)

·       When you are fearful, can you resonate with any of these responses to fear?

o   I can be paralyzed by it.

o   I can numb it.

o   I can ignore it.

·       Phil encouraged that a healthy response to fear is to reflect on it and understand it. What are some ways to engage this process?

·       How might God’s love speak into our experience of fear?

·       Phil stated, “When God says “do not fear,” he doesn’t mean that everything is going to work out the way we want. But he is promising to sustain us through painful and difficult times.” How have you seen God sustain you through painful and difficult times?

·       If you were to reflect on your fear, how might God be inviting you to experience surrender, growth, and freedom?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?

Surprised by Christmas-Part II

Series: Surprised by Christmas

Title: Part 2

Date: December 10-11, 2016

Speaker: Phil Vaughan

 

Big Idea:

It is all about your surrender

Passages: Matthew 20:20-28; Matthew 22:39

Discuss It:

·       What is it inside us that recoils at the idea of serving others?

·       Read Matthew 20:20-28

·       What favor did James and John’s mother ask of Jesus? (v. 21)

·       What did Jesus refuse to promise James and John? (v. 23)

·       What was the reaction of the other disciples to this whole dialogue? (v. 24)

·       How did Jesus define leadership? (v. 26-27)

·       How would you rephrase Jesus’ statement in your own words?

·       When does honorable ambition become dishonorable?

·       Read Matthew 22:39

·       What does Jesus ask of us in our relationships?

·       What practical steps can you take this week to demonstrate humility and love in your relationships?

Apply It:

·       What is the one thing you need to take away from this study?

·       What will help you remember it?

·       Is there anything that needs to change in your thinking, actions, or relationships as a result?