Sunday, September 16, 2018

Rebuild: Finish What You Start

Read Haggai 1:13–2:9

When using this discussion format, please choose the appropriate questions for your own group, and add or edit questions as necessary. You probably will not have time to ask every question below, so choose one or two from each section to keep the flow of the conversation going from ice breakers into scripture review, then personal application, next steps and prayer.

Ice Breakers

What's a big decision you made – one that maybe seemed a little crazy or ambitious, especially to others?

- How hard did you find it to keep going with what you had decided to do, in the face of opposing reactions from others?

- Were there times when it seemed impossible?

- Did you feel that God was present and faithful?

We've all quit on something within 1 month of starting. What's one thing you gave up on within 30 days of starting?

Scripture Review

Read Haggai 1:14. How did the Lord motivate the people to serve? Has He ever done that to you?

Read Haggai 2:4. What is God's promise? Do you find this promise to give you strength?

Why does the Bible stress the need for God's people to be strong and courageous?

Read Haggai 2:5. What is God's promise? How does this help you to not worry?

How might the words, "I am with you" make a big difference in your life?

Read Haggai 2:8-9. What does God say that can bring hope to their building project? (He will provide.) How does this change the way you go about your life?

Personal Application

Which of those encouragements that Haggai gave the people do you find most reassuring?

What personal word of promise, presence or courage do you need from God as you face whatever is in front of you right now?

What is a small step that you need to start being consistent with in order to truly move forward?

Next Steps

Is God stirring up your spirit through something and inviting you to be obedient in an area of your life?

What are some practical ways in which you can help people who are discouraged because their lives are being rocked?

How To Pray This Week

Finish What You Started - Ask God to give you strength to finish what you are discouraged with or have given up on. Ask for his wisdom to understand his promises in your situation.

Help Others - Commit to God that you will help encourage others who are struggling through a big situation in their life. Ask God to show you ways in which He can use you to encourage them.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Rebuild - Build the House

Haggai 1:1-11

Ice Breakers

1. Have you ever helped build or rebuild something? What's the hardest part?

2 - What part of the message/scripture impacted you the most? What point or phrase really stood out to you?

Scripture Review

3 - Read Haggai 1:2. One of the possible reasons why they didn't rebuild the temple was that it was going to take some hard work. What are the things in our lives that are hard, that we know are right/godly/biblical/healthy, but we aren't doing?

4 - The temple was in partial disrepair for a long time. It was partially built but never finished. Is there something in your life that you started, but haven't finished? What is something that God has instructed you to do that you haven't seen to the end?

5 - Read Haggai 1:3-5. The words "paneled houses" in our context could mean "a house with all the amenities." However, God isn't against nice things. What does God say that the problem really is with the situation?

6 - Read Haggai 1:6. What is consistent throughout this verse?

Personal Application

7 - What's your greatest barrier to acting on God's plan for your life?

8 - Has your life ever looked like Haggai 1:6? What have you learned from that period?

9 - God may not be calling you to do someTHING different. He may be calling you to do the same THING but for someONE different. What's the difference in going to work this week with God as your priority vs going to work this week with someone/thing else as the top priority?

Next Steps

10 - What is the biggest area of your life in which you need to rebuild your devotion to God?

11 - Describe what your three steps to laying a foundation – based on Haggai 1:8 – might look like. Just start with 3 small, simple steps so that you can move forward this week.

12 - Have you ever had to lay a new foundation in a specific area of your life before? Ever had to hit the reset button and start over? What worked? How did it turn out?

13 - What are some practical ways you'll make God's work your priority? Write a list, and put it on your fridge.

14 - Do something for someone else or for the church instead of yourself this week. Then, make it a new habit.

How To Pray This Week

15 - "Give careful thought to your ways." That phrase is repeated two times in three verses, and we know that repetition signifies importance in Scripture. So be honest with yourself; "give careful thought to your ways" right now. As the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what areas of your life need to be rebuilt with God as the priority.

16 - Sometimes doing the right thing is hard. Ask God for the strength and discipline this week to prioritize Him, listen and obey, and start the rebuilding process in your life. You're going to need Him to help you stay dedicated and see His plan through until completion!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Are You Kidding Me?! - The Scene Doesn't Say It All

Genesis 50:15–20

Apart from the Bible, what's your favorite story and why?

What makes a great story?

Why do you think so much of the Bible is in story form?

What do you do when your story is not going the way you want it to?

Ever feel like you're stuck? Getting nowhere in your story? What should you do when your story seems to be on pause?

Read verse 19. Are you afraid of anything right now? How do you know if you're in the place God wants you to be in? And if you are there, how does this reassure you?

Read verse 20. Share a time when you faced a hardship and saw God bring something good out of it.

What can you do when you can't find anything good from what's going on in your life?

Discuss the difference between what it looks like to trust in yourself versus trusting in God.

What specific scene in your life do you need to begin trusting God with?

How will you move forward in the story God has for you this week?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Are You Kidding Me?! - Scared Out of My Mind

What "silly" things are you afraid of? (eg. clowns, birds, spiders, germs, etc.)

Read Mark 4:35-41

Which part of this story best describes your life right now?
A. Getting in the boat
B. Middle of the storm
C. Waking Jesus up
D. Amazed by God

When have you felt like God was asleep in the middle of life's storm? How did you deal with that?

What should we expect from God when we find ourselves in a storm?

How would the disciples have responded if they had faith?
(They would not have awakened Him and asked if He cared. They would have trusted His very presence to keep them safe.)

Why is it so hard to have "faith" in the middle of life's hard times?

In what areas of your life are you tempted to respond with fear rather than faith?

What activities have you found to be helpful when you're going through hard times?

Read Mark 6:35-41

What is the most frightening or unbelievable thing you've ever seen?

What does this story reveal about Christ's involvement in our own trials?
(He is both aware of and concerned about our struggles and acts on our behalf. His deliverance reveals to us His supernatural power.)

In verse 36, Jesus says, "Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid." In what situations do you most need to take these words to heart?

Next Steps:

Take courage (move forward in spite of fear) with what God has called you to do. What next step does God want you to take?

Who do you know that is in a storm right now? How can you encourage them and build their faith?

Build your faith this week by spending more time in God's presence. Remove distractions, find your quiet place, and just be alone with God.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Are You Kidding Me?! - After All They Did to Me?!

Genesis 45:1-24

Has anything specific jumped out to you, either in this passage or from the sermon on Sunday?

If you were in Joseph's place, do you think you could have forgiven your brothers for all they did and for all they caused you to go through?

Are there offenses that have been committed against you that are very difficult for you to forgive? What's that process been like?

What typically hinders you from fully forgiving someone else?

Joesph was betrayed by his brothers, his boss' wife and his friends in prison. Instead of becoming bitter, he trusted God. How can you avoid becoming bitter when you are betrayed?

How does your relationship with God effect your ability to forgive others?
(Joseph trusted God's plan and believed in His providence, which allowed him to forgive his brothers.)

How can you use this to help you now and in the future?

Is there a mistake you have made where you've found it difficult to forgive yourself? How can this story help you do something about that?

What did this part of Joseph's story show you about God?

How has this group been a good example of reconciling community?

Next Steps:

Will you choose to forgive? Ask the Lord to show you specific people, perhaps some that you are not aware of, that you need to forgive. Write out a prayer expressing your willingness for God to change your heart toward someone you need to forgive.

Thank God for forgiving you! Remind yourself that the forgiveness we extend to others is very small in comparison with the forgiveness that God extends to us.


If your rGroup is going to take a break from your regular weekly meetings, please let your group know what to expect. When's your last week before the break? Will you get together a couple times in the summer to serve or hang out? When will you start back again? What can you do to stay in touch, refresh, and use the summer to your advantage?

Also, stay tuned for a rGroup Leaders get-together coming up this summer. I don't have a date, time or place established yet, but this will be a great time for all of us.

In the meanwhile, please email me at if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, etc. I enjoy hearing from you.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Are You Kidding Me?! - It's Your Own Fault

Genesis 42–44

This text is about how God used a series of tests to get Joseph's brothers' attention. The brothers never mentioned God, never thought about God, so God allows some things to happen in their lives to get them to focus on Him.

Who's got a funny story about how someone blamed someone else for something they did wrong?

What makes it difficult to accept responsibility for your actions?
(Because no one likes to fail.)

What feelings do people avoid when they constantly blame other people for their actions?
(Guilt, shame, attention, insecurity, etc.)

What does our tendency to blame others reveal about the human heart?
(We're selfish, and would rather someone else face the consequences of our failures.)

Why is it so important to take full responsibility for our sin, failures or shortcomings?
(When you blame others, you give up your power to change.)

God will test us to see if we are actually learning, growing, and moving forward from the things we admitted and took responsibility for. He wants us to grow up! Are there any tests you're in the midst of right now? How are you doing?

God doesn't test us because He doesn't know how weak/strong we are. He tests us because WE don't know how weak/strong we are. Have you ever gone through a test, and then realized how spiritually weak or strong you were? What was that like?

What test does God seem to be giving you over and over again? Why do you think he wants you to retake it?

Testing should make us spiritually stronger (James 1:2, 4). What do you need to do, and what do you need to ask God for help with in order to become stronger and pass your test(s)?
(The only way you're really going to know what you will do is to go through some things and be faithful to God. Stick with things, don't give up and run away, and don't blame everyone else for your problems.)

Next Steps:

Accepting responsibilities can be difficult, but this builds character and confidence, earns respect, and can motivate us to complete our work. What responsibility do you need to accept in order to accomplish the work God has for you?

Moving forward requires faithful actions. What area do you need to be faithful with in order to move forward in your walk with God?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day: Desperate Housewives

Matthew 15:21-28

v 21-22 - The Gentile woman came to Jesus with her plea the first chance she got. When you're desperate for something from God, how do you typically go about that? For instance, how quickly do you go to God? How often? How long? How desperate do you get with Him? etc.

The woman came to Jesus on behalf of her daughter. Who is someone that you have desperately or constantly gone to God for?

v 23a - This woman was panicked, begging and pleading Jesus to respond, but Jesus was silent. How was Jesus not really ignoring her, but already involved in His work?

v 23b - Jesus' disciples got annoyed with her begging and tried to get her to go away. What kind of obstacles have deterred you from pursuing your faith? How can you overcome them?

v 24 - What happens when God says no to you?

v 25 - This woman shows great persistence in her faith and pursuit of Jesus. What's an area in your life where you need to become more persistent and not give up on pursuing God?

v 26 - Jesus says no to her request again. How can (or do) you worship God when you don't feel "blessed"?

v 27 - She's willing to take the little scraps from Jesus. How far will you go just to see God do one "little" thing in your life?

v 28 - Jesus says, "your faith is great." Describe what you believe it will take for God to say the same about you.

How do you think God is testing your faith right now? (or) What did this story teach you about your faith?

Next Steps:

Read Hebrews 11:6. How can you apply this verse to your life?

Write a brief prayer asking God to nurture in your life the kind of faith and persistence demonstrated by the Gentile woman.

Write down and commit to one step of great (persistent) faith you can take this week.