Sunday, September 17, 2017

Messed Up Church: Weird Christians

1 Corinthians 1:10-31

Read vs 10-13.

Do you ever find yourself following other people or things in church more than Jesus? Explain how this messes up the church.

What often divides us in our churches? (Don't let it get out of hand. Stay on point!)

What is the solution to divisions, according to this passage? (An attitude of humility to pursue harmony.)

Look at verse 10 again. How do we "be of one mind, united in thought and purpose"? (We overcome divisions by seeing Christ and his mission as more important than our preferences.)

Ever notice how much we make Christianity and church all about us? What's one thing you can do to switch the focus off yourself and back onto Jesus and his mission? (Remember vs 9 says we are partners with Jesus on his mission.)

Read vs 18.

I'm sure you've come across many people who want the message of the cross to be more inclusive, but rejecting the cross means rejecting Christ and remaining in one's sin. Do you have an ongoing conversation with someone who "despises" the cross? How can we pray?

"Religious unbelievers" add their works to Christ's cross. "Secular unbelievers" deny the power of the cross (they think it is irrelevant). How can you approach these opinions with grace and love?

Read vs 19-21.

In what ways has trusting the "wisdom of this world" led to trouble in your life? How has God's Word led you into blessing?

Read vs 22-28.

Where do people search for significance?

How can you become more satisfied with our status in Christ so that we don't search for significance outside of him?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Messed Up Church: How to Know if You're Messed Up

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

1. (vs 1) Paul begins his letter by identifying himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus. Why should that carry weight to whom the letter is written? How does that apply to you and our church? (Aim to get a discussion going about spiritual authority, leadership, or discipleship.)

2. (vs 2) The church belongs to God, but it's full of imperfect Christians. How can this possibly work out? (We are called by God to be holy people, set apart for God... now live like it.)

3. (vs 4-6) We are blessed! What has God blessed you with that you use to bless others?

4. What needs do you know of for which you can use your gifts to be a blessing?

5. (vs 7) We are equipped with spiritual gifts, too. What do you think yours is? How do you know? (One practical way to find out is try doing what you're passionate about. Also, ask others how you've helped them. Spiritual gifts are to benefit others)

6. What keeps you from using the abilities God's given you? What hurdles do you need to overcome?

7. (vs 8) God sustains us! Why is it difficult to admit that we can't control our lives, or that we need help?

8. Read James 4:6-8. What does being humble look like? (When we give ourselves completely to God, instead of ourselves)

9. (vs 9) We're sent out! We're on a mission with Jesus. What priorities need to change in your life to ensure you focus on the mission?

10. What if I told you that money, cars, houses, and careers are temporary; but God is eternal? How does that change your heart (what you treasure)?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sermon on the Mount: Building on a Strong Foundation

Read Matthew 7:24-27

Have you ever built something or cooked food and realized after it was completed that the materials used were very low in quality or you forgot a key ingredient? How did that turn out?

What do the wise and foolish builders have in common, and what distinguished the two builders from each other?

The rain, streams and wind eroded the foundation of the foolish man's house causing it to crash down. In your life, what would represent a foundation made of sand?

What does it look like to build your house on the rock (a solid foundation)?

Why do people "hear" Jesus' words of encouragement to build their lives on Him, and yet choose to build their lives on "sand"?

Have you ever endured a "storm" in life that you can share with the group? How did you endure it, and what was the end result?

What needs to change for you to be more like the wise man and less like the foolish man?

What have you currently been doing to lay solid bricks (prepare) for "storms" that will come in your future?

Explain why Christ is the only foundation that will never fail and always last.

What commitments are you willing to make to be more like the wise man who built his life on Christ?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sermon on the Mount: Principles of Prayer

Read Matthew 7:7-12

When you prayed as a child, what were the things that you asked God for? How did that work out for you?

In what ways have your prayers changed as you've matured?

Do you tend to easily ask God for things, or do you hesitate to ask God for things? Why?

What kind of doubts do you face when you're waiting (needing to be persistent) for God to answer your prayers?

What are you pleased or encouraged about regarding your prayer life? What area do you struggle with?

What have you prayed for that in hindsight would have been a "stone" or a "snake" had God given you that which you requested?

Imagine that your prayers were recorded for others to read. (Yikes!) What would people learn about your view of God?

If you could ask God to do something significant in your life today and knew that He would grant your request, what would your request be?

What way does God want to use you to answer others' prayers? (Think about your passions and gifts.)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer on the Mount: Judging Others

Matthew 7:1-5

1) Imagine somebody walked through the door right now and they were openly against your views, and wanted to join our rGroup and participate in the discussion. What is your response?

• Would your response be the same for a non-believer and believer, or different? Explain.

2) Have you judged people in the past that made you look like a Pharisee? What were your intentions? What would you do differently?

3) If we are required to remove the "log from our own eye" before we remove the "speck from our brother's eye" when do you suppose it is necessary to "judge" our brother (or sister)?

• What is the objective in our judgments?

• Give an example of when you did this? What was the outcome? How was it received?

4) Matthew 18:15-20 says that judgment of our brother in Christ's sin is necessary for edification of the body. Discuss why this is important.

5) Discuss with the group a practical approach to how we should "judge" all people. What is the biblical protocol to these situations?

Homework:

1) Who have you been judging that you shouldn't have been? Approach that person and apologize for your sin.

2) Who is openly sinning that you feel you should lovingly approach so they can repent? Approach that person and explain to them biblically why it is necessary.

3) Do you still feel like you have "a log" in your eye, and are in no position to do either of these two things? If so, talk to a trusted friend, your rGroup leader or Elder to help work through these issues. Strive for a lifestyle that is holy and reflective of our God and Savior, Jesus.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Summer on the Mount: View of Money

Read Matthew 6:19–20

What is Jesus so concerned about our perspective of money?

How do we invest in eternal things?

What are the purposes of money?

What are treasures in heaven? How do you know if you have treasure there?

How can your time be used for eternity?

How can your money/stuff/resources be used for eternity?


Read Matthew 6:21–23

What does a satisfied heart look like in practicality?

How can you be satisfied with little? Do you think you'll be satisfied with much?

What are you focused on from Monday thru Saturday? Why does your daily focus effect eternity?


Read Matthew 6:24

What does serving money look like? How do you serve money?

What does serving God look like? How do you serve God?

Why can't you serve both God and money?

Why is Jesus better than anything this life could give you?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Summer on the Mount: Fake Christians

Matthew 6:1–18

1. Fake faith gives to get noticed. (vs. 2–4)

The key is: why do you give? What's your motive?

Why should you give without fanfare (in secret)?

Does this mean that you should never tell anyone what you give and who you give to?


2. Fake faith performs prayers for people. (vs. 5–15)

Which side of the spectrum do you find yourself: Afraid OR Proud to pray in front of others?

How does your pride get in the way of your prayers?

What are the advantages of private prayer?

If God/Jesus walked into the room right now, how would you talk to Him? Do you find your answer to be the same way that you usually pray to Him? Why or why not?


3. Fake faith sacrifices to impress others. (vs. 16–18)

How did hypocrites fast (sacrifice)? What was wrong with this?

Why should we fast? What's the purpose?


Closing:

Why does Jesus put the emphasis on the motive of giving, praying, and fasting but not just the practice?

How might you pray, give, and fast differently as a result of Jesus' teaching?

Do you think you can apply this passage in your life without the help of other Christians? Why or why not? How can we help each other in these areas?