SERMON DISCUSSION GUIDES

  • JULY 5, 2020

    Text: 

    James 3:1-12


    Discussion Questions:

    1.What are some incredible everyday things we take for granted?

    2. Can you think of any more examples of how our words can affect the world around us?

    3. What are some ways we've used words to put other people down?

    4. What are a few ways we can lift up the words of people whose voices aren't always heard?

    5. Read Martin L. King Jr.'s "A Letter from Birmingham Jail" and discuss it with your family. What can we learn from this letter today?

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."

       ~ James 1:19


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Praise God for the freedom he has given us through Christ his Son.

    2. Pray for our Black brothers and sisters who still struggle with the residual effects of racism.

    3. Pray for our Government at the Federal, State, and Local levels as they continue to discern how best to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    4. Praise God for the unity we find in the Body of Christ, and where there is not unity, pray for the reconciliation which comes with the Good News. 

  • JUNE 28, 2020

    Text: 

    Romans 12:1-2


    Discussion Questions:

    1. What unwritten spiritual disciplines do you currently practice?

    2. What disciplines are most meaningful to you?

    3. Does the idea of writing out a Rule of Life appeal to you? Why or why not?

    4. Take time today to write out a daily rule, a weekly rule, a monthly rule, and a yearly rule.

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

       ~ Romans 12:1


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Praise God for securing for us complete forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    2. Praise God for giving us a new identity in Jesus.

    3. Praise God for His invitation to have an intimate relationship with us.

    4. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct us to spiritual disciplines that will transform our hearts and minds.

  • JUNE 21, 2020

    Text: 

    Mark 1:9-13


    Discussion Questions:

    1. Can you remember something someone specifically said to you that really blessed your soul? How did it bless you? 

    2. Can you remember a message of that was spoken to you that felt like a curse? Explain. 

    3. How does the Father’s blessing to Jesus in Mark 1:11 help us? 

    4. Reflect on how you can use these blessings to bless others: Romans 15:5-6, 13, Philippians 1:9-11, Hebrews 13:20-21

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

       ~ Mark 1:11 (NIV)

      

    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Confess to God words you have spoken that have harmed others.

    2. Praise God for accepting us fully because of Jesus.

    3. Ask God to help you see those around you who need a word of encouragement and blessing.

  • June 14, 2020

    Text: 

    Luke 17:11-19


    Discussion Questions:

    1. Why do you think gratitude is hard for us, even though we have so much?

    2. How does making comparisons undermine gratitude?

    3. What other virtues seem to cluster around a grateful heart?

    4. What has this pandemic taught you about gratitude?

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;

    for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

       ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Praise God for the specific blessings of your day.

    2. Confess to God your ungrateful spirit.

    3. Ask God to bring to mind the ideas and thoughts that undermine gratitude (envy, jealousy, entitlement…). 

    4. Ask God to equip you with hopeful gratitude that transcends your challenges and disappointments.

  • June 7, 2020

    Text: 

    Mark 8:24 - 9:1


    Discussion Questions:

    1. What is your reaction to the word "submission"? Why?

    2. Why do you think we are called to submit to one another?

    3. Can you think of a time when submission helped you grow in Christ?

    4. How does the submission of Jesus inspire you to submit to God and others?

    5. Think of a character flaw you would like to be free from. Prayerfully consider a spiritual discipline you think will help you change in this area. Ask a trusted friend to keep you accountable.

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Philippians 2:5–11


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Praise Jesus for His willingness to surrender, submit, and suffer for your sake.

    2.  Ask God to show you one of the primary ways you refuse to submit to Him. Confess this to God.

    3. Thank God for the freedom that comes from living according to His word and will.

    4.  Ask God to lead you to someone who can help you grow in submission.

  • May 31, 2020

    Text: 

    John 4:27-38


    Discussion Questions:

    1. Given the overwhelming biblical evidence for the practice, why do you think there is so much resistance and skepticism towards fasting?

    2. When you feel frustrated, restless, or empty, how do you most often respond?

    3. In our text, what food does Jesus find so satisfying?

    4. Name one way you can practice fasting or any kind of self-denial for spiritual purposes?

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

       ~ Matt. 4:4


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Praise God for His nearness and faithfulness to us.

    2. Praise God that He invites us into a personal relationship with Him.

    3. Confess to God the ways you try to find satisfaction and peace apart from Him.

    4. Ask God to show you ways you can practice self-denial to deepen your relationship with Him.

  • May 24, 2020

    Text: 

    Matthew 6:5-6


    Discussion Questions:

    1. Is it hard for you to keep secrets? Why?

    2. The world we live in makes the discipline of secrecy challenging. Can you think of some examples where you've seen this to be true?

    3. What’s the connection between the gospel and the discipline of secrecy?

    4. Think of a way you can secretly bless someone this week.

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

       ~ Matt. 6:6


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Confess to God your failures at keeping confidential matters.

    2. Ask God to show you how these failures are rooted in pride.

    3. Ask God to show you what you can do for Him without anyone knowing about it. Then do it!

    4. Ask God to remind you that you are fully loved, accepted, and approved of in Jesus.

  • May 17, 2020

    Text: 

    Jonah 4


    Discussion Questions:

    1. What happened this past week that made you especially grateful and happy?

    2. What happened this past week that made you especially angry?

    3. Why do you think Jonah was so angry?

    4. Do you see any similarities between Jonah’s anger and your own? If so, how?

      

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

       ~ Colossians 3:12


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Ask God to show you the root sins beneath any anger you experience. 

    2. Confess to God any evidence of fear, self-righteousness, or self-pity.

    3. Ask God to fill you with faith, hope, and courage.

    4. Spend some time praising God for the blessings of this past week.

  • May 10, 2020

    Text: 

    Jonah 3


    Discussion Questions:

    1. What is mercy? Name two ways God was merciful to Jonah.

    2. How have you experienced God’s mercy in your life?

    3. In what area of your inner life (i.e. your character) do you see God most at work?

    4. What sin do you find most often at the root of others sins in your life?

    5. Ask God to reveal to you both your sin and the assurance of His saving mercy.

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

       ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Praise God for how you have personally experienced His faithfulness, mercy and forgiveness.

    2. Ask God to reveal to you the those areas in your life where you need to change.

    3. Spend some time asking God to reveal the sins that often fuel other sins in your life.

    4. Thank God for the complete forgiveness that is ours in Jesus Christ.

  • May 3, 2020

    Text: 

    Jonah 2


    Discussion Questions:

    1. What is grace?

    2. Why is God’s grace so amazing?

    3. What did it take for Jonah to experience God’s grace?

    4. What three things do we need to remember in order to grow in grace?

    5. What practical ways can you channel your experience of God’s grace into the lives of those around you?

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. 

       ~ Ephesians 2:8–9 (NIV)


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Thank God for his grace.

    2. Ask God to help you grow in grace in your relationships. 

    3. Pray that families and marriages would be protected and strengthened during this challenging time.

    4. Pray for those struggling with addiction and mental illness. 

    5. Pray for our church council as they seek to lead our church in a changing environment. 

  • APRIL 26, 2020

    Text: 

    Jonah 1


    Discussion Questions:

    1. Jonah ran from God. Is that even possible? Why?

    2. Some people run from God by living a “good life.” What does that look like? Why doesn’t it work?

    3. What does your storm (challenge, heartache, disappointment) look like?

    4. What do you think God is teaching you through this storm?

    5. What is one storm the person trusting in Jesus will never have to face? Why?

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. 

       ~ Psalm 23:6


    Prayer Suggestions:

    1. Thank God for relentlessly pursuing you. 

    2. Ask God to help you to learn more about Him, about yourself, and about your relationship with Him in the midst of the storm. 

    3. Ask God to calm your heart the way Jesus calmed the raging waters. Thank God for providing the peace that only He can provide. 

    4. Pray for those who are close to you and yet far from God, that they would come to know Jesus.

    5. Ask God for wisdom and courage as you reach out to those who don't know Jesus.

ARCHIVE: "Into the Night / Into the Light"


  • April 19, 2020

    Discussion Questions:

    1. If you were in the boat with those first disciples, how do you think you would have responded to a voice from shore telling you, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat…?

    2. What do you think Jesus was teaching His disciples in that moment?

    3. How did Jesus demonstrate His love for His disciples in this story?

    4. What do you think was going through Peter’s mind when Jesus asked him, “Do you love me more than these?” three times in a row?

    5. How does this story of Peter and Jesus give us great hope?

     

    Memorization Challenge: 

    He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” 

    When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

           ~ John 21:6

  • April 12, 2020 - Easter Sunday

    Discussion Questions:

    First, please read all of John 20. 

    1. What do you think Mary (and the other women) were thinking on the way to the tomb?

    2. The first witnesses to the resurrection were all women, given the cultural prejudices of the day, what’s the significance of this?

    3. The first words to Jesus’ disciples each time was, “Peace be with you.” How does this speak of the grace of Jesus?

    4. Why is this such a great story for those who struggle with doubts?


    Memorization Challenge: 

    But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah,
    the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

           ~ John 20:31


    
Suggestions for Prayers:

    - Express gratitude for Jesus' victory over sin and death, a victory that we share in and that brings us hope and salvation!

    - Thank Jesus for graciously moving in our direction. Thank Him for being patient when we lack faith, when we are skeptical of his mercy, and unwilling to fully trust in Him. 

    - Pray the promises of John 16:33:

         ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
           In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    - Pray for those who are sick, and their families, that the Lord would heal and comfort them.

    - Pray for protection for those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

    - Pray for those on the front lines treating those who are sick, that the Lord would protect and 
    strengthen them. 

    - Pray for national and local leaders, that they would have wisdom to do what is best for all. 

    - Pray for those who have lost work, that God would provide through their families and communities. 

    - Pray for God's guidance regarding who you can reach out to and support through these difficult times. 

    - Pray patience and perseverance for parents, students, and teachers. 

    - Pray for those who are experiencing loneliness or anxiety due to separation from family and friends.

  • April 10, 2020 - Good Friday

    Discussion Questions:

    1. Why did Jesus allow himself to endure the excruciating torture of crucifixion? 

    2. What did the crucifixion of Jesus accomplish? 

    3. What emotion(s) or response(s) do you experience when you consider what Jesus did for you on the cross? 

    4. How can we express gratitude for what Jesus has done for us? 

    5. Read Numbers 21:4-9 & John 3:14-17. Discuss.


    Memorization Challenge: 

    But he was pierced for our transgressions,

        he was crushed for our iniquities;

    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

        and by his wounds we are healed.

           ~ Isaiah 53:5


    
Suggestions for Prayers:

    - Express gratitude to Jesus for bearing pain and death on the cross to pay the debt for your sin. 

    - Pray the promises of Isaiah 41:10, both for you and for all who are experiencing fear and anxiety:

         “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged,

          For I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.

          I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

    - Pray for those who are sick, and their families, that the Lord would heal and comfort them.

    - Pray for protection for those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

    - Pray for those on the front lines treating those who are sick, that the Lord would protect and 
    strengthen them. 

    - Pray for national and local leaders, that they would have wisdom to do what is best for all. 

    - Pray for those who have lost work, that God would provide through their families and communities. 

    - Pray for God's guidance regarding who you can reach out to and support through these difficult times. 

    - Pray patience and perseverance for parents, students, and teachers. 

    - Pray for those who are experiencing loneliness or anxiety due to separation from family and friends.

  • April 5, 2020 - PALM SUNDAY

    Discussion Questions:

    1. What is something in your life that makes you feel "surrounded?" Why?

    2. Read Psalm 118. Discuss any quotes or parallels you find with our Passage in Luke 19.

    3. Why do you think Jesus wept when he saw the city? What emotions was he feeling?

    4. Look at Luke 19:28-36 right before our passage. How did the disciples demonstrate trust?

    5. What can we do today to actively put our trust in God instead of humans?


    Memorization Challenge: 

    They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

    “Hosanna!”

    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

    “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

      John 12:13


    
Suggestions for Prayers:

    - Pray for the peace promised by Jesus in John 14:27, " Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
    I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

    - Pray for those who are sick, and their families, that the Lord would heal and comfort them.

    - Pray for protection for those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

    - Pray for those on the front lines treating those who are sick, that the Lord would protect and 
    strengthen them. 

    -Thank God for our city, state, and national leaders. Pray they be given wisdom and sound judgment 
    in leading our nation. 

    - Pray that the measures being taken to slow the spread of the virus will have a positive impact. 

    - Pray for those who have lost work, that God would provide through their families and communities. 

    - Pray for God's guidance regarding who you can reach out to and support through these difficult times. 

    - Pray patience and perseverance for parents, students, and teachers. 

    - Pray for national and local leaders, that they would have wisdom to do what is best for all. 

  • March 29, 2020

    Discussion Questions:

    1. When have you felt most connected to the church? Talk about that experience.
    2. In our passage, Jesus is about to be deserted by his disciples? Who else will desert Him? Why?
    3. According to our passage (John 17:20-23), what is the basis and source for Christian unity?
    4. How does the message of the gospel foster fellowship within the church?
    5. What are you doing now to stay connected to our church family? 


    Memorization Challenge: 

    “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

    John 17:20–21


    
Suggestions for Prayers:

    - Pray for the peace promised by Jesus in John 14:27, " Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
    I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

    - Pray for those who are sick, and their families, that the Lord would heal and comfort them.

    - Pray for protection for those who are most vulnerable to the virus.

    - Pray for those on the front lines treating those who are sick, that the Lord would protect and 
    strengthen them. 

    -Thank God for our city, state, and national leaders. Pray they be given wisdom and sound judgment 
    in leading our nation. 

    - Pray that the measures being taken to slow the spread of the virus will have a positive impact. 

    - Pray for those who have lost work, that God would provide through their families and communities. 

    - Pray for God's guidance regarding who you can reach out to and support through these difficult times. 

    - Pray patience and perseverance for parents, students, and teachers. 

  • March 22, 2020

    Discussion Questions:

    1. In your own words, what does Jesus promise in John 15:5 (below)?

    2. How do we know when we are “bearing fruit?”

    3. Why do you think we resist personal change?

    4. How do we “remain” or “abide” in Jesus?


    Memorization Challenge: 

    “I am the vine; you are the branches.If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

    John 15:5


    
Suggestions for Prayers:

    -Pray for those who are ill or who are dealing with the coronavirus firsthand. 

    -Pray for protection for those who are most vulnerable to the virus, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. 

    -Pray for peace in the midst of fear and uncertainty, especially for those facing quarantine and preventive isolation from loved ones.

    -Pray that the measures being taken to slow the spread of the virus will have a positive impact. 

    -Thank God for doctors, nurses, and scientists who are working on the frontlines of care and healing. Pray for their protection.

    -Thank God for our city, state, and national leaders. Pray they be given wisdom and sound judgment in leading our nation. 

    -Pray for those already feeling the financial effects of the situation. 

    -Pray for parents, students, and teachers as they venture into online learning and the various challenges and stresses involved.

  • March 15, 2020

    Discussion Questions:

    1. How do you think Jesus knew his disciples were afraid? 
    2. How do you know when you’re afraid? 
    3. What do you think the disciples feared the most? 
    4. What are your greatest fears?
    5. What did Jesus say to calm the fears of the disciples? 
    6. How do these words calm your fears?


    Memorization Challenge 

    “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

     John 14:1


    Suggestions for Prayers:

    • Thank God for His promises to “never leave us or forsake us.” Ask God to give us a sense of peace and calm in the midst of so much change.
    • Thank God for doctors and nurses who are working on the frontlines of care and healing. Pray for wisdom and protection from the virus.
    • Thank God for our city, state, and national leaders. Pray they be given wisdom and sound judgement in leading our nation.
    • Pray for protection against the virus. Pray too for those who have been infected that they might recover fully.