Losing Love- Forgiveness

Ice Breaker

1.  What's the silliest grudge you've ever held against someone?

Diving In

2.  Lisa began by talking about how our culture forgives (ie. I'll wait for the apology before I forgive or forgive yes, forget never...) Have you adopted any of these conditions for forgiveness and how have they hindered healing and restoration?

3.  We looked at how God forgives and forgets.  What practical steps can you put in place to follow God's standard of forgiveness?

4.  Discuss the two reasons why we should forgive:  1. Because Jesus said so. (Matt. 6:14-15/ Matt 18:21-35).  2. The forgiveness that you offer is the gospel in action. 

5.  Who do you need to forgive or invite Jesus into the process of helping you forgive?

Power Point Slides Click HERE

 

 

 

Losing Love- Screen Addiction

Ice Breaker

1.     How many hours a day do you spend looking at a screen?  (work or personal related)  How many hours a day do you spend talking to people?

Diving In

2.     This week in Losing Love we’re talking about screen addiction and the impact it is having on our culture and each of us.  It naturally distances us from each other’s real lives.  How have you felt or seen this reality?

3.     In Jesus’ day the law and the desire to stay clean and not become unclean was a natural phenomenon that distanced people from one another.  Some highly felt the impact of that.  Discuss how the leper would have felt in Luke 5:12-13.  How significant is the fact that Jesus touched him? 

4.     Is there a model for us as Christians as how to come into the lives of those who are hurting?

5.     In Mark 7:32-35 you once again see Jesus invade the personal space of someone desperate for help.  What does this teach us about who God is and His heart?

6.     Is screen addiction keeping you distanced or even distracted from others?  What steps might you take this week to change?

Power Point Slides Click HERE

Losing Love- The Opposing Team Mentality

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we talked about the Opposing Team Mentality, are there any teams you love and others you can’t stand?

Diving In

2.     This week as we talked about how the opposing team mentality can impact the conversation about same-sex marriage, many have believed we have to pick between our friendships and the bible.  Discuss this statement: You can have the word of God (and Biblical convictions) and have your relationships (with those you disagree with and even believe are living in sin).    Discuss how Jesus lived this out.

3.     Discuss these two mindsets and how they have not helped Christians in this conversation:

a.     We’ve categorized sins (Jesus’ sermon on the mount challenged this mindset)

b.     We’ve categorized temptation (Heb. 4:15, James 1:13-15)

4.     Discuss how Jesus modeled a beautiful balance of grace and truth in his encounters.  (John 8:7, 10-11/ John 5:6-9, 14/ John 4 7-10, 15-18)

5.     Are you modeling relationships of grace which lead to words of truth?

Power Point Slides Click HERE

Losing Love- Tourist

Ice Breaker

1.     Share a story of one of the oddest, funniest, or craziest things you’ve done as a tourist or on vacation.

Diving In

2.     This week we’re talking about the attitude shift that is taking place in our culture, like that of a tourist.  A tourist’s aim is to consume as much from the experience for themselves and their purposes.  Ultimately it’s all about them.  In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus tells a parable about a Pharisee who is making prayer all about himself.  How is it that we can take activities that clearly exist for another purpose and make it about ourselves?

3.     In Luke 14:7-11 Jesus tells another parable that communicates a similar message.  What stands out to you as unique or different in this parable?

4.     Verse 11 summarizes the parable.  What does humility look like in your life?  Is there someone in your life that it is difficult to humble yourself to?  

5.     Who can you prioritize to serve, listen to, or put first this week?

Losing Love- The Excarnation of Humanity

Ice Breaker

1.     Most of us loved something when we were younger (ie. a band, style, activity, etc) that when we look back at it we think how silly that we loved it so much.  What was something, that it’s almost embarrassing, that you loved so much back in the day?

Diving In

2.     Pastor Josh started by asking 3 questions that categorize where we are in our journey of loving.  Which question categories you currently?  Or are you in multiple categories?

a.     Do we actually love others as Jesus did?

b.     Do we love the idea of loving others?

c.      Do we love the idea people thinking we love others?

3.     This week’s theme was the Excarnation of Humanity…the defleshing of people.  How do we naturally deflesh people? How do people turn into statistics in our culture and lives?

4.     In Luke 7:36-47 you see a woman come and have an intimate encounter with Jesus.  What is most interesting to you about her actions, Simon’s reaction, and Jesus’ reaction?  What does it teach us about love?

5.     There are 2 different Greek words for saw/ see in verse 39 and 44.  Simon saw her with his eyes, but didn’t really see her, but Jesus saw her to understand and know her.  Who do you see regularly (and look past) in your life?  How could you see them this week, to get to know them and show them love?

Power Point Slides Click HERE

First- With our Time

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we’re talking about time…if you had an extra 2 hours in a day what would you spend that time doing?

Diving In

2.     As we consider who God is and the fact that God is outside of time and has a will for our lives (in terms of how we spend our time), how does that impact your view of how you’re currently spending your time?  (Is. 57:15, 2 Peter 3:8, Ps. 90:2, Eph 2:10)

3.     Pastor Josh talked about the fact that first, time is limited.  Ps. 90:12 challenges us to teach us to number our days.  How would you live differently if you knew you only had 2-5 years left?

4.     Secondly, time can be spent wisely or foolishly. (Eph. 5:15-17)  Are you good at saying no to things and people?  Are you good at allocating your time wisely?  Who or what do you have to choose to cheat?

5.     Third, you will be held accountable to how you spent your time.  Is there anything the Lord has laid upon your heart to do that you have put off?  What’s keeping you from doing it?  How will you take the steps to do it this week?

6.     Homework:  Consider doing a time budget sheet.  Follow the 3 simple steps of 1. Charting how you spend your time currently.  2. Evaluating your time spent- Is it necessary, flexible, or wasteful.  3.  Build your new time budget.

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

First- With our Talents

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we’re talking about God being First with our talents.  If you could have any talent, what would you desire?

Diving In

2.     Ps 139:14 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  That “wonderfully made” could be translated “wonderfully wonderful” or “uniquely extraordinary”.  Go around your group and name something you see unique from God in each person.

3.     Romans 12:1-8 is the passage we focused in.  How do we often conform to the patterns of this world?  (vs 2)  How do we take the unique expression of God in us and try to form it to the world?

4.     Paul uses the phrase “in proportion to ones faith” a few times in the passage.  What do you think that means and how do we grow in it?

5.     Describe a time when you felt like your talents, abilities, and passions aligned in a place of fulfilling divine purpose.

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

First- With Money

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we are talking about money…what’s one of the best purchases you ever made?

Diving In

2.     During this series we’ll always come back to who God is.  Pastor Josh briefly covered how God in regards to money is good (Rom. 8:28), faithful (Heb 13:5), loving (Matt. 6:25-26), and rich (Phil. 4:19).  For starters, how do these realities of who God is impact your financial perspective?

3.     Pastor Josh talked about the two sides of the money coin?  The first was giving/ generosity.  Discuss how giving is important in each of the following areas of your walk with God.

a.     Worship (Prov. 3:9-10)

b.     Obedience (2 Chron. 31:5)

c.      Trust (Mal. 3:10)

4.     Pastor Josh talked about the 5 steps on the Giving Pathway. (Initial giver, intentional giver, tithing giver, generous giver, extravagant giver)  How does the picture of a giving pathway help challenge you in your giving journey?

5.     The other side of the money coin was spending.  Consider the following verses challenging our hearts with our spending. (Is. 55:2, Luke 12:15, James 4:3, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Cor. 7:31)  How do they challenge you in your spending journey? 

Power Point Slides Click HERE

First- True North

Ice Breaker

1.     As we start our series First share what your first car was and a fun story involving it.

Diving In

2.     Pastor Josh used the illustration of having some things that point us to true north as we consider God as First.  Discuss each of these elements.

a.     Who He is.  Rev. 1:17, 4:8-11, 1 Cor. 8:6, Is 42:8.  Why do we lack perspective of who He is?

b.     The demonstration of who He is.  1 John 4:8, Rom. 5:8, 1 Cor. 15:3.  How does Christ sacrifice impact what is first in your life?

3.     Jesus often challenged people who wanted to follow Him to really consider the cost.  Luke 14:26-33.  He did this to ask if they could really make Him first.  Do we accurately paint a picture of following Jesus and the cost of making Him first? 

4.     We often claim that God is priority in our lives…that He is first.  Yet based on our time, efforts, passions, etc, what other things do you find to be competing in your life to be first?

 

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

It's Just a Phase

Small Group Questions:

 

  1. Leaders have your group answer these 3 questions, but don’t linger to long on them.
    1. Name the 5 most impactful sermons you’ve heard
    2. Name the 5 most spiritually significant events you’ve attended
    3. Name 5 people who have impacted your walk with Christ. 

 

    Why is it that it was easiest to name the people that impacted your life?

 

2. How does knowing that 85% of people who accept Christ do so by the age of 14 impact the way you see church? 

 

3. Read Matthew 18:1-5. What is it about kids that make them more open to Jesus?

 

4. What do you do on a weekly basis that will have an impact on Eternity? Do you have a few that you are investing in regularly? Are you going to participate in Summer Serve?

Pete Briscoe- Hand in the Glove

Ice Breaker

1.     Pete Briscoe started by talking about disappointment.  What was the most disappointing gift you ever gave or received?

Diving In

2.     Galatians 2:20 was the central verse.  There were 3 main elements.  Discuss each of these.  How have they impacted you?  How are these not just theologically true but actually true for you?

a.     I died

b.     I’m indwelt

c.      I’m depending

3.     Pastor Pete used the illustration of the hand in the glove.  But no one is ever impressed with the glove, but it is obviously the hand within the glove.   How is it we fall into thinking highly of ourselves when it is Christ in us?

4.     Discuss the following summary statement:  “Since Jesus is in me, I’ll trust Him to do it.”  What do you need to trust Jesus with today?

5.     End with praying for one another that Jesus would live through you, love through you, and lead through you.

Watch the video…click HERE

Substitute - The "Normal" Christian Life

Memorize Together (10-15 minutes)

During this series we are memorizing Hebrews 10:19-25.  After 7 weeks your group should have this passage almost perfect.  Choose one of the following challenges:  1.  Have everyone say the entire passage (each person can make 6 mistakes).  2. Have one person from the group say the entire passage (they only get 2 mistakes) 

Small Group Leader provide a prize if the group is successful with the challenge they chose.

Ice Breaker (10 minutes)

1.      This week we’re talking about the “normal Christian life” adventure.  If you could live an adventurous life within any movie what movie and character would you choose?

Diving In (25 minutes)

2.      Pastor Josh began by describing how Jesus lived as our “elder brother”.  Meaning, He lived His life as a man, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, in submission to the will of the Father.  (Phil 2:6-8, Heb 2:11)  Why is this concept important for us to understand if we too desire to live the “normal” Christian life that Jesus modeled?

3.      Pastor Josh talked about two keys necessary for the “normal” Christian life.  (Luke 4:36, 9:1)  Discuss each of these keys and why they are so important.

a.     Authority- Matt 28:18-20.  Do we pray prayers of authority that make God sweat?

b.     Power- Luke 5:16-17, 2 Cor. 12:9.  How does our own personal encounter, level of desperation, and recognition of our weakness play into exhibiting His power through us?  

4.      Where do you need to see His authority and power displayed in your life today?

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

Substitute- A Trade of Trust

Memorize Together (10-15 minutes)

During this series we are memorizing Hebrews 10:19-25.  Pair up with someone in your group and split the verses up among the pairs.  Each pair rewrite your assigned verse in a paraphrase that makes the most sense to you.  Then read your paraphrases to the group and explain why you wrote yours the way you did.

Ice Breaker (10 Minutes)

1.     If you had to put your trust in someone in the group for the following situations who would it be?

a.     You’re about to make a huge financial move

b.     You’re hanging from a cliff and about to fall

c.      You’re having a relationship crisis

d.     Someone to do your laundry

e.     Someone else is going to make every meal for you

f.      Someone is going to make your schedule for everyday and you have to follow it

Diving In (25 Minutes)

2.     Read Mark 8:14-21.  Jesus is going to challenge 2 primary forces of influence and places of trust in their culture.  Discuss these 2 and how they had influence over the people in Jesus day how they creep in and have influence in our lives as well.

a.     Pharisees- Religion- is man’s effort to reach God.  Instead God’s wants relationship, which is God’s effort to reach man through sending Jesus.

b.     Harod- Government.  How does Jesus’ government differ?  Is 9:6-7

3.     Jesus book ends the conversation by pointing out His kingdom realities by talking about the multiplication of bread for both the 5000 and 4000.  What’s His point?

4.     If Jesus were to come to us today and warn us to beware of the yeast of…fill in the blank, who/what else might he add to that list?

5.     For yourself personally where do you need to make a trade of trust, from something in the world to Him and His world?

 

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

Substitute- Flesh for Fruit

Memorize Together: (10-15 minutes)

During this series we are memorizing Hebrews 10:19-25.  Review the verses for a few minutes.  Sit in a circle holding hands.  Have someone start quoting the passage from the beginning.  They can continue quoting the passage for as long or as little as they want.  When they desire to they will pass it by squeezing one of the hands of the people beside them.  Each person must say at least one word before passing it to someone else.  Try to make it through the entire passage without looking and try it a couple times.

Ice Breaker (10 Minutes)

1.     If you could only demonstrate one element of the fruit of the Spirit…which would you choose and why?

Diving In (25 Minutes)

2.     Gal. 5:19-25 describe a substitution that’s been made for believes in Christ.  The flesh for the fruit.  Why is crucifying the flesh so difficult at times? 

3.     Pastor Josh described 3 Fruit Giving Realities.  Discuss how you apply each to your life.

a.     There is a new set of divine laws that you’ve been saved to.  Romans 8:2

b.     What the mind is set on will determine which laws you’ll follow.  Romans 8:5-6

c.      Setting your mind on His promises will result in fruit. 2 Peter 1:3-4

 

Powerpoint Slides HERE

Substitute- Holy Spirit Presence

Memorize Together: (10-15 minutes) During this series we’re going to try to memorize Hebrews 10:19-25. We’re going to play charades.  Split the verses either into phrases or entire verses…write them on sheets of paper and place them in a bowl.  Have individuals from your group draw and act out their phrase.  Make sure the group doesn’t’ just identify which phrase or verse is being acted but says the entire phrase or verse.  If they are struggling, keep acting out individual words till they get the entire phrase correct.

Ice Breaker (10 Minutes)

1.     This week we’re talking about how the Spirit is always “with” us.  Describe a time when you were scared because you were alone.  

Diving In (25 Minutes)

2.     Pastor Josh walked through 3 different ways God has revealed His presence to mankind throughout history.  What things would you have liked most about each?  What do you long for to understand God’s presence better?

a.     Old Testament- sporadic presence for the few (Exodus 33:9, 14-16)

b.     Jesus Era- physical/tangible presence for those in proximity (Matt. 1:23)

c.      New Testament- permanent presence for those who believe (John 16:7, 14:16-17) and convicting presence for all mankind (John 16:8-11)

3.     In John 14 there are two things Pastor Josh emphasized about the Spirit.  Why are these two elements so important?  How can these impact you today?

a.     He will speak truth…Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17,26)

b.     He will be with you…You’re not alone (John 14:18)

4.     Pastor Josh talked about how the Spirit speaks to us.  He used an unusual phrase “The Holy Spirit is like flow” based on John 7:38-39.  He provided some suggestions about how to keep the water running to set us up for hearing His voice.  Were there any suggestions that seem to resonate with you?  Are there other means by which the Holy Spirit seems to speak to you? 

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

Substitute- Who Can Save?

Memorize Together: (10-15 minutes) During this series we’re going to try to memorize Hebrews 10:19-25. Split the verses up among the group.  Have each mini-group write their verse on the sheet of paper with a sketch or two that they think represents the verse.  Fill the whole page with the verse or sketches.  Now cut up the sheets into puzzle like pieces and mix all the pieces (from all the groups together)  As a small group, piece the puzzle back together in order.  At the end read it out loud and have each group explain why they sketched what they did.

Ice Breaker (10 Minutes)

1.     This week we’re talking about needing saving.  Have you ever needed to be saved in a dire situation?  Share your saving story.

Diving In (25 Minutes)

2.     This week Pastor Josh introduced the subject by talking about how we as American’s have the tendency to believe “we can do it”.  How does this mentality affect our walks with God?

3.     The standard of Biblical sacrifice was a pure spotless lamb.  The following were observation and application points.  Discuss each…or share any interesting thoughts about each.

a.     Jesus fulfilled the standard as he did not have a sin nature and was without sin.  Rom 5:12

b.     No other payment method was sufficient.  1 Pet. 1:18-19. 

c.      His payment cleanses our conscience from dead works or useless rituals.   Hebrews 9:13-14. 

4.     Acts 16:16-31 contains the story of a guard who though his life was spared, he knew he wasn’t living.  Even though his physical life is saved, he asks, “How can I be saved?”  Can you now or in the past relate to this man who though he was alive, he wasn’t living?

5.     Pastor Josh talked about the 2 forms of saving we all need.  The future (eternal) and current (present) life.  John 10:10.  Where do you daily still realize you need His saving in your life?  (Another way of saying it, where do you daily realize you still need Him and must rely on Him?)

 

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

Substitute- The Foundation of Righteousness and Justice

Memorize Together: (10-15 minutes) During this series we’re going to try to memorize Hebrews 10:19-25.  Pick a version your group would like to memorize from.  We’re going to use some of our memorizing tactics that we did during our last series.  Split the verses up among the group and take 3-5 minutes to memorize your verse and add a couple simple motions to help you remember.  Then go one at a time reciting the entire passage with motions teaching the others along the way.  Go 3 times all the way through the passage trying to get faster each time.

 

Ice Breaker (10 minutes)

1.     If you could substitute one of the worst years of your life with one of the best which years would you switch?

Diving In (25 Minutes)

2.     As we begin Substitute we look at the foundation of why Christ had to die for sins.  Ps. 89:14 says…”Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”  Discuss God’s righteousness and justice as the critical foundation to why Christ had to die.

a.     If God is righteous and Holy why do these character traits cause an extreme response to sin?  Ps. 9:4, 11:7, Is. 59:2, Eph 2:1-3.  Why do we get dull to sin?

b.     It’s only in the context of this extreme payment for sin we see His extreme love for us.  Romans 5:8.

c.      It’s only in the context of this extreme payment for sin we see his set apartness and His view of sin. 

3.     If these foundations of righteousness and justice are so critical to God, it would seem that these would be critical foundations we would fight for in our lives as well.  How do you fight for righteousness?  Are there places in your life where you’ve become apathetic to sin?  How do you fight for justice?  Are there more productive ways you’ve found to bring justice into unjust situations?

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

Refresh- Stories of Hope

Ice Breaker

1.     Fill in the blank:  When I feel hopeless all I need is…_____________.

Diving In

2.     This week Pastor Josh walked through a story of hope of the man born blind in John 9.  This week we want you as a group to practice writing and sharing your stories of hope with one another.  Share how you would fill in each of the 6 statements.  Perhaps at the end you can even practice giving your 60 second story of hope with another in the group.

a.      My life has a story of Hope (there is something to see here)  Vs 13-16 (ok so a. is super easy all you have to do is say the statement.  However if you’re unsure if you have a story of hope, now is a great time to talk about where you are in your walk with God and if you’ve ever personally trusted Him as your Savior)

b.     I was…________________________  (this is who you were)  Vs 17

c.      I found God/ a Savior/ Jesus.  Vs 17

d.     Others would have said…___________________.  Vs 18-20

e.     All I know, I was…_______________ but now I…_________________.  Vs 24-25

f.      If it were not for God...________________________________.    Vs 30-33 (this is connecting the act to the character of God)

Powerpoint Slides Click HERE

Grow Up- Sovereignty and Suffering

Memorize Together

The passage you’re working on during this series Grow Up is Eph. 4:11-16.  Everyone study the passage for a few minutes.  Then try to quote the entire passage as a group one sentence at a time.  Anyone can start and anyone in the circle can hop in to say the next sentence until you’re all the way through. 

Ice Breaker

1.     This week we’re talking about suffering.  Try to “one up” each other on the most painful experiences you’ve gone through.  (physical pain stories…let’s not go to emotional pain yet)   

Diving In

2.     As we look at God’s sovereignty, one of the hardest things for people to wrap their minds around is suffering in light of that.   Discuss the idea that “suffering is the platform of the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace.”   (1 John 4:10)

3.     Discuss this quote: “Some people can’t believe God would create a world in which people would suffer so much. Isn’t it more remarkable that God would create a world in which no one would suffer more than he did?”

4.     Pastor Josh talked through a handful of reasons why we suffer.  Discuss each of these and how they each play out in our lives.

a.     It’s the platform to learn to fully rely on Him.  2. Cor. 1:5-10

b.     It’s the platform to find completeness in Him.  James 1:2-4

c.      It’s the platform to experience all the good He has for us both here and in eternity.  Rom 5:18, 28

d.     It’s the platform to experience His grace and power.  2 Cor. 12:9-10

e.     It’s the platform to be a model of the suffering Savior.  2. Cor. 4:8-11

5.     What do you currently struggle to trust our sovereign God with that you hope to trust Him more with each day?  Ultimately you’re realizing He’s God and you’re not.

Powerpoint Slides click HERE