Sexuality and Marriage (discussion questions)

HS 4Here are the discussion questions that accompany the message that Kelly and I delivered this past weekend at Eastbrook Church, “Sexuality and Marriage.” This was the fourth and final part of our series, “Holy Sexuality.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was your view of marriage growing up?
  2. This week we conclude our series, “Holy Sexuality,” with a focus on sexuality and marriage. We will look at various passages in this study. Before you begin, take some time to pray, asking God to speak to you and transform you through this study.
  3. Whether you are studying alone or with a group, read Genesis 2:20-25 aloud. What level of commitment do you see in these verses about the marriage relationship before God?
  4. How is this similar to or different from the view of marriage in our world today?
  5. Now read Song of Songs 8:4-14 aloud. This passage is a richly poetic and almost surprising expression of the joys of love in marriage. What are the different aspects of love that you see in these verses?
  6. How does the community celebrate and guard love in this passage?
  7. What are one or two ways in which the example of the lovers in Song of Songs is helpful to you right now?
  8. Next we want to look at the challenges to married sexuality from Proverbs 5:1-23. Read that passage aloud and identify a few of the main challenges to holy sexuality in marriage.
  9. What antidotes to these challenges are presented in these verses?
  10. After looking at the challenges, it is clear that we cannot live this out from our own resources. What are some of the keys to committed sexuality in marriage from Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33?
  11. What is the “profound mystery” that Paul connects to the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:31-33? Why is this important?
  12. What is one major takeaway you have from this week’s study? If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone this week. If you are in a group, take time to pray for one another about these things.

God’s View of Sexuality (discussion questions)

HS 4Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “God’s View of Sexuality,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the first part of our series, “Holy Sexuality.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. As we approach this new series, “Holy Sexuality,” what do you most hope to learn and how do you most hope to grow with God?
  1. This first week in our “Holy Sexuality” series we will look at God’s view of sexuality. We will explore a number of Scripture passages. Before starting this study, take some time to pray, asking God to clearly speak to you and praying for the Holy Spirit to work in your life.
  1. In Genesis 1:27-28, we read that Adam and Eve were made “in the image of God.” What do you notice in these two verses about what that means, as well as their responsibilities in the world?
  1. Genesis 2:21-25 recounts the creation of Eve with Adam. What stands out to you about the purpose and plan of God in this unique female-male relationship?
  1. Read Genesis, chapter 3. This chapter tells of Adam and Eve’s temptation and the first act of sin – disobedience to God – in human experience. In light of this chapter’s events, look at Genesis 2:25 again. How would you describe the power of sin and shame in these first few chapters of Genesis?\
  1. In what ways do you think that sin and shame affects our sexuality? How have you seen this in others? How have you seen it in your own life?
  1. The power of the gospel, which literally means ‘good news’, is that in Jesus the Messiah, our sin is forgiven, shame is removed, and brokenness is healed at the Cross. Read the story in John 7:53-8:11. What happens for the woman in this story?
  1. How does this story provide a picture of Jesus’ work in our own sexual brokenness and sin? What sin in thought, word, or deed needs to be forgiven in your life? Where do you need freedom and release within your sexuality through Jesus today in order to move forward in life?
  1. Revelation 21 paints a beautiful picture of the ultimate restoration of the cosmos in Jesus. Read verses 1-5 aloud. How does this give you hope today? What hopes do you have about the new heaven and new earth related to sexuality?
  1. What is one way God is speaking to you through this study? How might your thinking about, words about, or actions with sexuality need to be changed? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about these things together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone during the next few days.

Prayer as the Pathway to Unity (discussion questions)

EM07262015 16x9 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Prayer as the Pathway to Unity” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the fourth part of our series, “One Church.” This week we looked at John 17:20-26.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think are the greatest hindrances to unity, no matter the setting?
  1. This weekend in our series, “One Church,” we are exploring John 17, with specific attention on verses 20-26. Take some time to pray, asking God to clearly speak to you; then read John 17 aloud.
  1. John 17 is sometimes called Jesus’ high priestly prayer. This is because we find Jesus directly talking with His Father in prayer about the heart of His ministry right before going to the sacrifice upon the Cross. What are some of the main things Jesus prays about in John 17?
  1. There are three major sections in Jesus’ prayer here: 1) Jesus’ prayer for true glory; 2) Jesus’ prayer for His disciples; and 3) Jesus’ prayer for future believers. When you consider Jesus’ prayer for the believers in the future – which includes us today – what does this make you think about or feel?
  1. Themes of unity abound in these few sentences of prayer. In verses 21 and 23 what would you say is the fundamental unity Jesus says is the basis for unity amongst believers? Why is this significant?
  1. What do you think Jesus means by saying, “I have given them the glory that you gave me” (17:22)? What sort of glory do we receive as disciples of Jesus?
  1. In verses 21 and 23, what Jesus says there will be certain results – or aftereffects – of believers entering into the unity Jesus prays about. What are those results?
  1. Have you ever experienced disunity in God’s people? Have you seen it impact the effectiveness or fruitfulness of God’s mission in the world? What happened? If applicable, how was this disunity resolved?
  1. What is one way in which you feel specifically impressed to pray for unity in your own life or the life of the church? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about these things together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone.

Singing the Songs of God’s Salvation (discussion questions)

TTGITT Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Singing the Songs of God’s Salvation,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the fifth and final part of our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” from the book of Habakkuk. This week we looked at Habakkuk 3:1-19.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What sorts of things have lifted your spirits when you have gone through troubling times? Why?
  2. This weekend we conclude our series from the book of Habakkuk, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” by studying Habakkuk 3:1-19. This closing prayer to God full of rich imagery and declarations of faith. Before you read the passage aloud, ask God to clearly speak to you.
  3. Verses 1-2 show a change of tone in Habakkuk from the previous two chapters. How would you describe Habakkuk’s tone in prayer before God in chapters 1 and 2 as compared with these first two verses of chapter 3?
  4. With verses 3-15, we see Habakkuk mingling together reflections on what God has done in the past and what He will do in the days to come. There are many references to the exodus of Israel from Egypt during Moses’ time in these verses. Take a moment to search out references to the Exodus that are found here, particularly in verses 3-7.
  5. Why do you think the Exodus imagery was important for Habakkuk in his day and time? What could it convey?
  6. Beginning in verse 8, Habakkuk depicts God as a warrior. What descriptors of God show His might and power as a warrior here in verses 8-15? Given the pending judgment God outlined in chapters 1 and 2, why might this picture of God speak powerfully to Habakkuk and his hearers?
  7. In the midst of these words about God’s past and future deliverance, Habakkuk mentions the ‘anointed one’ (Hebrew: messiah) in verse 13. Often the Messiah was a reference to a king or ruler. This is one of the clearest references to the Messiah as a person who will bring deliverance and will be delivered by God. Why would Habakkuk be looking for a Messiah in the circumstances of his day?
  8. With verse 16, we read Habakkuk’s final words in this psalm to God. The Hebrew word for ‘trembling’ appears twice in this verse (NIV: ‘my heart pounded’ and ‘my legs trembled’). Why do you think Habakkuk is trembling, even as he waits patiently?
  9. The last three verses (17-19) reveal a deep faith in troubling times. The fig tree, grapes, and olives are luxuries of the land, while the fields, sheep, and cattle are essentials for life in the land. What sort of faith declaration is Habakkuk making in light of what we read here?
  10. Have you endured a time of great trouble? How have you learned to rejoice and trust God in the midst of that season of life like Habakkuk?
  11. As we draw this series to a close, take a moment to reflect on some of the ways God has been speaking to you through Habakkuk’s message. If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

[Next week we begin a series, “One Church,” focused on the unity we have in Jesus Christ. Prepare for next weeek by reading Ephesians 4.]

Faithfulness in a Confusing World (discussion questions)

TTGITT Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Faithfulness in a Confusing World,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This is the fourth part of our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” from the book of Habakkuk. This week we looked at Habakkuk 2:2-20.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When have you seen someone get what they deserved for doing something wrong? Did it make you feel good or bad? Why?
  2. This weekend in our series, “Turning to God in Troubling Times,” we look at Habakkuk 2:2-20, where God replies to Habakkuk’s second prayer. Take some time to pray, asking God to clearly speak to you, before reading the passage aloud.
  3. Habakkuk 2:2-20 has two major sections: 1) an announcement of a vision, or revelation, from God (2:2-5), and 2) five illustrations of that vision. In verse 2 what does God tell Habakkuk to do with the vision and in verse 3 what does God say about the timing of the vision? Why is this important given the troubles around Habakkuk and his people?
  4. In verses 4-5, we face a strong contrast between the way of living against God and for God. How would you summarize what God is saying through Habakkuk here about these two ways of life?
  5. What do you think it means for us to live out the phrase: “the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (2:4b)?
  6. Background: Habakkuk 2:4 is one of the most important Old Testament verses quoted within the New Testament. The Apostle Paul references this verse as a central part of his teaching on justification by faith alone (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11). The writer of Hebrews draws upon it to encourage pressured believers to persevere (Hebrews 10:36-39). Later, you may want read those passages as you reflect on how Habakkuk’s message shapes our understanding of faith as followers of Jesus.
  7. Beginning in verse 6, we encounter five illustrations of the pending judgment upon those who disobey God. Each of these illustrations is highlighted by a Hebrew word usually translated as ‘woe’. Take a moment to see where the word ‘woe’ occurs in verses 6-20 in order to get a sense of the structure of this passage.
  8. Based on what you just did, summarize each ‘woe’ found in verses 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, 15-17, and 18-20. Answer questions like: what is the main issue being addressed by God?; what wrongs are part of this?; what is the end result?
  9. According to verse 20, how does Habakkuk seem to resolve his complaint-prayers before God?
  10. Psalm 73 echoes much of what is found in Habakkuk. Read Psalm 73 aloud, and then do one of two things: 1) consider how these words help you step into the message of Habakkuk personally, or 2) pray parts of Psalm 73 back to God as your own declaration of faith.
  11. How is God speaking to you about living with and for Him through Habakkuk 2:2-20? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

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