God Calling (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Fumbling with Faith,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the second part of our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. When was a time that you most struggled to be obedient to God in your faith? How did you grow through it?
  2. We continue the “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook by looking at two episodes in Abraham’s life found in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18. Ask God to speak to you before reading those two portions of Scripture aloud.
  3. What is it that leads Abraham to begin traveling in both of these stories?
  4. As they travel into the land of Egypt (12:10) and the area around Gerar (20:2), what motivates Abraham to tell the half-truth about his relationship to Sarah? How do you think Sarah felt about this?
  5. Abraham specifically mentions his anxieties that “there is surely no fear of God in this place” (20:11). How does Abimelek actually act in response to God’s words (20:3-16)? How does the character of Abimelek and Abraham compare in this situation?
  6. Have you ever been surprised to find a God-fearing person, like Abimelek, in an unexpected place like? What happened?
  7. God protects Abraham and Sarah, even bringing greater blessing upon them (12:16; 20:14-16), despite the failure. Why would God do this?
  8. In Genesis 12:1-3 God speaks about the promise of a future and in Genesis 21 the child of promise, Isaac, is finally born. There is a lot of distance between God’s promise and actual fulfillment. What did the experience of waiting seem to do to Abraham and Sarah? How have you navigated seasons of waiting for God to act in your life?

God Calling (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “God Calling,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the first message in our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you define the word ‘faith’?
  2. We are beginning a new series at Eastbrook called “Faith Life,” in which we will explore what it really means to be a person of faith. We will follow the life of Abraham – called Abram at this point in our journey – in Genesis 11:27-25:12. This week, we are studying Genesis 11:27-12:9. Stop and ask God to speak to you before reading that portion of Scripture aloud.
  3. Abram’s journey begins in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) and moves toward present day Israel and Palestine. What do you observe about Abram’s family background and history from Genesis 11:27-32? What stands out to you? What is confusing to you?
  4. Genesis 12:1-3 is perhaps the most important passage in the entire Old Testament. Here, God speaks to Abram with a decisive command and specific promise. What is the decisive command God speaks to Abram in verse 1? What do you think this would have meant to Abram?
  5. When have you experienced God speaking to you decisively? What happened? How did you know it was God?
  6. In verses 2-3, God speaks seven promises of His overall covenant – or agreement – with Abram. What are those seven promises and what is their significance both for Abram now and for others later?
  7. How would you describe the response of Abram and others in verses 4-7? What is surprising and what is not surprising?
  8. One thing to note in verses 6-9 is that Abram journeys to “the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.” This was a recognized center for pagan religion in the ancient near east. What does Abram do at this site? Why do you think Abram did this and what would it have communicated to others around him?

Vision Weekend (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my vision weekend message from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. Some of these questions are very specific to our church, but whether you attend Eastbrook or not, I think you will be challenged to think about where you are heading with God this year.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your aim or vision for life?
  2. This weekend at Eastbrook we are talking about our vision for the year ahead. There are a lot of Scripture passages which we will look study, but it all begins with our vision of Jesus. Read Colossians 1:18-23 aloud after you have asked God to speak to you through this study.
  3. Colossians 1:18-20 provides one of the most powerful descriptions of Jesus within Paul’s letters. Take a few moments to list the descriptions of Jesus found in these verses. Based on these descriptions, what do we know about who Jesus is and His role in the universe and church?
  4. Moving from these words about Jesus, Paul goes on in Colossians 1:21-23 to describe what Jesus has done for us. Put into your own words what Paul is saying about Jesus’ actions for us.
  5. The vision of Jesus moves us toward having a specific vision for our particular church. We often talk about our vision at Eastbrook Church as living at the intersection between the Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Read those two passages aloud. What does it mean to you to live at the intersection of these two great statements of Jesus?
  6. This weekend, Pastor Matt talked about our vision and the six priorities we are working on as a church (see the sermon outline). He also mentioned going “deep” and “wide” with our faith. What is one thing God is speaking to you about these things for the year ahead? If you are alone, write it down. If you are with a small group, discuss these things with one another.

 [Next week we begin our series “Faith Life” following the life of Abraham in Genesis. To get a jumpstart on this series, consider reading Genesis 11:27-25:11.]

Connecting Together (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Connecting Together,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the second part of our series “Together” on what it means to be the church.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you define the church in your own words?
  2. We continue our series “Together” this week by looking at what it means to be the church relationally. This week, we will spend time primarily in Acts 2:1-47 and Colossians 3:12-17. Stop to ask God to speak to you. Then, read Acts 2 and Colossians 3:12-17 aloud.
  3. Peter’s first sermon in the book of Acts is followed by a dramatic response from his hearers. How would you describe the response to Peter’s sermon initially (verse 38-41) and in the days following (verses 42-47)?
  4. The church is not something created by human beings. Based on what you see here, as well as what you know from other portions of Scripture, what would you say is the source of the church?
  5. What do you think that the everyday life of the early church looked like? How does our life as a church look similar or different today? What does that make you think about?
  6. Last week, we looked at Ephesians 2 and the vastly different people who were brought together in the church. In Colossians 3:12-17, Paul exhorts these vastly different people to live together in some very specific ways. Which of Paul’s exhortations jumps out most to you? Why?
  7. How might you grow in grace as a member of Christ’s church based on what you are encountering here in Colossians 3?
  8. What is one specific truth or point of application that God is speaking to you through this study, and how will you live that out this week? Write it down. If you are in a small group, share your thoughts with one another.

Together in Jesus Christ (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Together in Jesus Christ,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the first part of our series “Together” on what it means to be the church. This message was built out of Ephesians 2.

Discussion Questions:

1. When did you enter real, life-changing relationship with God through Jesus Christ? What happened? How did your life change?

2. This week we begin a four-week series entitled “Together” focused on what it means to be God’s people together. This week, we will spend time in Ephesians, chapter 2. Stop and ask God to speak to you. Next, read Ephesians 2 out loud.

3. The first ten verses of this chapter outline the basics of what salvation in Jesus Christ is all about. ‘Salvation’ is a churchy word that we don’t necessarily use a lot in our everyday lives. Ponder Paul’s words here and then put them into your own words. How would you describe what the message of Jesus is about as outlined in Ephesians 2:1-10?

4. Reflect for a moment on what this really means. Do you believe this truth or not? Do you order your life by this truth or not? If yes, then why? If no, then why not?

5. The next twelve verses focus more about the change of status and relationship that we experience because of what Jesus has done. Remember that the Hebrew Bible makes a distinction between Jews (that specific national-ethnic group called into relationship with God through His promises) and Gentiles (the non-Jewish nations). Paul is writing to a mostly Gentile audience in Ephesians. Why would Paul’s words here be significant to these readers?

6. What do you think it means that Jesus “himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14)? Why is this important?

7. The tabernacle—and, later, the temple—was the physical dwelling place of God in the Old Testament. How does Paul shift the idea of God’s dwelling place in verses 20-22? What is he really saying here? What might this mean for us today?

8. What is one specific truth or point of application that God is speaking to you through this study, and how will you live that out this week? Write it down. If you are in a small group, share your thoughts with one another.