3: Father
April 16, 2017
What was the one word you used at the beginning of service to describe God? Why did you choose that word?
Ask someone in the group to explain the analogy used to describe the trinity by the speaker at your campus. Did this explanation help you better understand the Trinity?  Why or why not?
In the message it was stated that love became translated to fear when sin entered the world.  How has past sin or mistakes shaped your view of who God is today?
How has giving or receiving extraordinary love (via a spouse, child, relative, friend, etc.) helped you better understand the love God has for you?
Have someone in the group read 1 John 4:16-18.  What in this passage sticks out the most vividly to you about the love the Father has for you?
Grow Deeper
Read John 1:1-18.  Journal your thoughts as John describes Jesus as The Son in preparation for next week.

 


EASTER

What was you favorite Easter tradition or memory growing up?

The Resurrection: Two Options

Option 1 - Have a volunteer tell as best as they can the story of the first Easter as recorded in the Gospels. Afterwards, allow the group to chime in with any details they want to add.

Option 2 - Read the account of the first Easter in John 20.

Imagine that first Easter Sunday. If you were there on that first Easter, what would you be feeling and thinking?

Why is Jesus’ resurrection such a big deal?

Baptism and New Life

Read: Romans 6:1-4.

If you’ve been baptized, share with the group what that was like for you (when did it happen, what do you remember, what was it like, etc). Keep it brief so there’s time for everybody to share.

If you haven’t been baptized, what is keeping you from doing so?

Paul links newness of life to baptism in this passage.  What kinds of new life have you experienced since coming to Christ?

Is there any specific area or way that you need to live out your death to sin and newness of life that is described in the passage?

 


ACTION PLAN part 4

This past Sunday we explored being prepared to the story of Jesus’ impact in your life. We see this being one the ways the Apostle Paul pointed people to Jesus in Acts 22:1-16. So use your life group time to share your story with each other. If you were sharing this with an unbeliever you would probably have only a couple minutes to share it … and then if they wanted to know more they would ask. So keep your story brief and use the following points as a guide for how to put it together:


-What was your life like before Christ?
-How did you meet Christ?
-How has your life changed since meeting Christ?

Celebrate each person’s story. Sometimes those who grew up int he church feel like since their story may not be super dramatic it’s not a good story. But all of us who have met Jesus have been transformed by him. Your story doesn’t have to entail a radical conversion experience. It only has to point people to Jesus by telling the difference he’s made in your life!

After each person has shared their story, take some time to pray and thank Jesus for the difference he’s made in your life.


ACTION PLAN part 3

How often are your decisions centered on the Gospel with all other factors on the periphery?

Read Matthew 16:24-26.  What does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross in pursuit of Christ?

Imagine yourself walking in Paul and Silas' shoes in the book of Acts, chapter 16.  How do you imagine yourself responding while in the same situation?  Have you been in a similar situation where you have made a decision on what was best for the Gospel rather than what benefited you the most personally?

Think of your current walk with God. Are you willing to derail your plans to share the Gospel?

Is there something you need to give up for the Gospel?

Is there something you can take on for the Gospel?

 


ACTION PLAN part 2

Opener: Who first shared the gospel with you or first pointed you towards Jesus? If you grew up going to church, when did the gospel become real to you?

Read: Acts 8:4-25

If you had been in Philip’s shoes, what would have been the hardest part about going to the Samaritans? (e.g., talking to people you don’t like, worrying about what your Jewish friends would think, etc.)

It's often said "belief and baptism go hand-in-hand”.  Why do you think that is?

If you've been baptized, describe what that experience was like (i.e. was it ritualistic or did it cement/exhibit true life change).  

A main point of the message was that because "the gospel is for everyone, we should share it with anyone."  What seems to be the greatest barrier that prevents you from sharing the gospel with others, especially those who are different than you?

A CALL TO ACTION
Do you have an action plan for pursuing those far from God? If so, what is it? If not, what could be a first step for you?

On Sunday, we did “gospel tic-tac-toe.” Who did you write in your squares?  What is your action plan to reach those within your squares?  

 


ACTION PLAN: part 1

Opener: Did you grow up with an action or fire plan in the event of an emergency?  If so, what was it?

Read: Acts 3-4
Do you consider interruptions in your day as blessings and opportunities or as inconveniences?

Is there someone in your life who is been going through a difficult time? You may feel like you do not have anything to offer, but this person may need exactly what you can offer.  What seems to be the biggest thing that prevents you from extending a hand to someone else?  Is it finances, a skill, or something altogether different?  Consider the glass half-full mentality and spend some time as a group talking about other valuable traits a person in tough times may desire.

It was said "the Gospel gives compassion and courage to reach out to others".  Who is someone in your life you can reach out to?

Discuss with your group your action plan for reaching out to someone with the invite card provided in service.

Grow deeper
Read Acts 3 while considering the following questions:
Try to imagine yourself in the story first as Peter and John.  What goes through your mind when you first see the crippled man?  
What judgements or assumptions do you make at his request for money? 
Now imagine yourself as the beggar.  What would you write as a diary entry for the day?  What do you feel as Peter grabs your hand and you begin to walk?
Can you think of someone whose life you might make an impact on?
Is there an area of your life you would ask Jesus to heal if given the chance? 
Consider praying: God, grow compassion in my heart for people and courage to enter in to situations with those for whom you give me a compassion for.

 

 

JESUS +

Leader: Tell the story of Paul’s conversion found in Acts 9:1-25 (I’d recommend telling the story not reading it but having the group follow along in Acts 9 so they can “fact check” you)

Paul describes the impact meeting Jesus had on his life in Philippians 3:7-11. Read Philippians 3:7-11 and answer the following questions.

What are some things Paul gave up or lost in order to know and follow Jesus?

What are some things you gave up or lost in order to know and follow Jesus when you first became a Christian? (Have each person share something)

What might be something that you need to demote, give up, or rearrange today in order to know and follow Jesus more fully?


Moving Forward
Each day this week pray through Philippians 3:7-11, allowing God to make these words real to you and show you what changes you may need to make to know Christ more fully.

 

JESUS + Fun

Opener: What's your favorite thing to do for entertainment?

Walk With God
What is your definition of happiness?
Read: John 15:11
Describe how you viewed God while growing up.  Does that view affect your ability to find your joy in Him now (i.e. find joy and take peace in the simplicity of His character, what He did on the cross, His presence, friendship, etc)?

Connect With People
Read: John 15:4-5
What does it mean to “abide in Him”?  
How have you seen your relationships with others around you change when you’ve been close or distant from Him?
What does Jesus mean by bearing fruit?

Impact The World
The bible talks a great deal about being joyful and finding our joy in God and His love.  If you were to measure how much of your joy comes from God and His love on a gauge; would you put it at full, half-full (or empty), or empty?
Describe how your actions are affected by how full your God tank is.

Grow Deeper
Read Habakkuk 3:17-18
On the surface, it seems the passage is simply telling us to put our faith in God above all else; a mantra we’ve heard throughout this series.  However, if you read into the passage deeper, the author describes a situation in which signs of a new season are not appearing in due time (“the fig tree does not bud”), a major source of celebration has now become obsolete (“there are no grapes on the vine”), and his primary source of sacrifice, food, and trade are now gone (“there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls”).  It is essentially the most destitute of times that he calls us to rejoice in the Lord and to get our joy from God in a seemingly joyless time.  
Is there a point in your life you’ve felt this way?  How were (or are you) able to pray prayers like Habakkuk did here in the midst of these troubled times?  
Is is practical for us to expect our souls to rejoice in troubled times?
 

 


JESUS + Stuff

Opener: What's one of your favorite things to shop for?

Describe the last time a want became a need for you?
Did you adjust your life and schedule (by working more hours, getting a job in addition to you primary job, sold something, etc) whatever object the want/need was?  
If you purchased that item a while ago; do you still consider as important as the day you went to purchase it and if not; did it align with a particularly tough season in your life in which you were possibly substituting the purchase of stuff for Gods love?

Read: 1 Timothy 6:6-10
Would you be satisfied with simple and basic needs?
What makes contentment so challenging?
Is money the real problem?  What other things might grow from the roots of loving money?

Read: 1 Timothy 6:17-19
How would you describe a healthy relationship to stuff?
How is your relationship with stuff supposed to compare to your relationship with God?

Read: Philippians 4: 12-13
What do you think the "secret" Paul is referring to here is?
 
Grow deeper: 
What are the areas of your life you're not content with?  Spend some time this week thinking on the above passages and your discontentment.  Tell God what areas stick out the most and why you think you're discontent with those areas.  Journal your thoughts and pray through ways God might bring about contentment through those areas.

 


JESUS + Work

Read: Galatians 4:1-7

Walk With God
Of all the jobs you've held in your life, which has been the most meaningful and why?

It was said in the message "What we do for God should never replace what God has done for us." First, what does this mean and second, is this something you've struggled with?

Fill in this blank: Jesus +_______________ = my identity.

Connect with people
Do you see your daily interaction with people at work as a part of "ministry"?  What have you done or could you do in the future to be more intentional with this?

How can these relationships be less phony and seem less like we're working an angle to "convert" someone rather than simply show Gods love to them?

Impact the World
Grow deeper: do you identify with the statement "What I do is who I am"?  Why or why not? If work doesn't define you, what does?

 


JESUS + Relationships

Who was your best friend growing up. What made you so close?

Read Luke 14:25-35

Based on this passage, what price must we be willing to pay in order to be a disciple of Jesus?

Since Jesus clearly teaches us to love our neighbors, enemies and self, what does He mean in v. 26 when He uses the word “hate” in reference to our family and our own life?

What relationships (family, close friendships, etc) have been a hindrance to whole-hearted discipleship to Jesus?

What would change if Jesus were the ultimate authority and ultimate priority in all of your relationships?

We don’t use the word “renounce” very often but it’s close to the heart of what Jesus is teaching in this passage. So take a moment to reflect together on what it means to renounce something - what does renouncing entail? What makes it hard? How does it feel?

At this present time, what might you need to renounce in order to more fully follow Jesus?


JESUS + ________

Walk with God
Read: Exodus 20
According to the passage, what is to be placed as our number one focus?  What do we risk when we put other things ahead of, or even next to God?

It was said that breaking the first and second commandments could ultimately lead to us forsaking the other, arguably more obvious, commandments.  Do you agree with this statement?  Why or why not?

It was also said that we risk putting other things next to or ahead of God when we allow "good things to become ultimate things".  What "good things" in your life do you risk allowing to become the ultimate things in your life?  

Whats' the "+" for you in Jesus +..?

Connect with people
How would your relationships look different if you placed less worry on your "+" and put that energy into those around you?  What specifically would you change?

Impact the world
What impact would you have if you prayed an audacious prayer like, "Lord, help me place less of my focus on my '+' and more attention on you"?

 

Impact the World

Opener: Talk about a time you remember someone's life being impacted because of something you did or a time when your life was impacted by someone else's selfless action.

Read: Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 10:30-37

To make the idea of impacting the world seem less daunting, we attempted to aim our focus this week on impacting one person to impact the world.  Who, in your life can you impact for good this week?  What actions would be the most meaningful to that person?

Read the passage from Luke 10:30-37 while picturing yourself in the situation.  What would your action have been?  What excuses do you find yourself giving most often when passing by those in need?

The Good Samaritan possessed traits that we can strive for: compassion, risk taking, paying the price, and selflessness.  Which if theses attributes is the most difficult for you in reaching out to another?  Which comes more naturally?

We were left with one final challenge before the end of the message this week: to not avoid those who may need our time, words, or resources.  What have you done this week to see this through?  If you haven't been given the opportunity yet; what step are you thinking of taking to impact one person this week?

 

Mission_CWP.jpg

Mission: Connect With People

Read: Colossians 3:12-14

Opener: Talk about the most incredibly awkward moment you've found yourself in the middle of.

The comment "we have unlearned how to connect" was made in the message.  Have you found it to be more or less difficult as you've gotten older?  Do you believe smartphones and social media have helped or hurt this process?

Read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

How does the statement "your relationship with God is personal, but never individual" align with this passage and what does it mean for your life?

The following passage is from Hebrews chapter 10, verses 24-25.  Focus specifically on the words the author uses in verse 25:

"24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near"

Why do you think the author felt it important for us to know this?  What do you personally benefit by being a part of a community like church or a life group?  Have you ever given thought to the idea that others in your group benefit by you being a part of the group?

There were seven parameters Paul challenges us in Colossians to look at in our hearts to both contribute and grow in community.  They include: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and bearing with one another.  Which of these come the most naturally to you?  Which of these are the most difficult for you and why?  Do you feel one stands out as the most important for true community?

True connection is a two-fold process: maintaining relationships and creating new ones.  Which of the three challenges (texting someone, starting a conversation with someone new, and joining/starting a life group) did you/do you plan to attempt this week?  What's prevented you from taking the first step if you haven’t ventured outside of our comfort zone yet?