#nofilter – Discussion Questions

#NoFilter-720

MAIN POINT:

The “Me first” mentality is unfulfilling and NOT God’s plan for our lives.

ICEBREAKER:

Who is the hairiest person you know?

INTRODUCTION:

This weekend, Pastor Zac kicked off our new series, #nofilter, with the first sermon entitled, “Just Call Me Jacob”. He reassured us this was not a campaign to stop us from taking selfies or pictures of our cats. Rather, it is an opportunity to examine the conflict between the real us and the person we project to others. In the book of Genesis, Jacob demonstrates the “Me First” mentality in several situations early on in his life. From his heel-grabbing at birth to masquerading as his older brother in order to grab his blessing, Jacob shows his motives were self-centered. It was not until he wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ that Jacob revealed his true identity and was renamed, Israel, which means “triumphant with God.” REMEMBER, God cannot bless who we pretend to be. Jesus calls us as we are, weary, heavy laden, without a filter, and He will give us rest and victory. We are reminded of this in Exodus 3:13-15 when the Lord referred to Himself as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”. He did not call Jacob “Israel” because He is the God of our failures! Amen!

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Genesis 25:21-26

1. Where did Rebekah turn when she was having “difficulties” with her pregnancy?

2. What information is contained in verse 23?

3. T or F? The Lord chose Jacob over Esau because Jacob was the “better” brother.

Read Genesis 27:15-21

4. Although Jacob got the blessing he wanted, deceiving his father cost him dearly. What are some of the consequences of his deceit?

5. What could Jacob’s life have been like if he and his mother had waited for God to work His way and in His time?

6. You, too, have a spiritual birthright and a choice about what to do with God’s generous gifts. Would God describe you as a person who “despises his or her birthright”? What do your desires and pursuits reveal about you and the “inheritance” that can be yours?

Read Genesis 32:22-29

7. Who was “the man” that wrestled with Jacob? How did the man overcome Jacob?

8. Jacob “set a condition” to end the wrestling match. What was it?

9. Jacob struggled with his true identity. When he surrendered all to Christ that night, he was forever changed and had a new identity. What does the Lord need to wrestle out of you? What do you need to surrender?

10. Share with your group who you once were before you became a “new creation in Christ”. (See Mark 8:35, 2 Cor 5:17)

Read Matthew 19:30

11. Who will be first? Who will be last?

12. Consider successful people you know or know of. Did they get that way by being humble?

13. Are you willing to forfeit eternal rewards for temporary benefits? Share with your group which temporary benefits tempt you the most. How can your group pray for you to overcome these temptations? Whose approval should you seek?

Read Luke 9:25

14. This question seems obvious – who would want to lose their soul?!? However, if this present life is most important to you, you will do everything to protect it. Christ followers understand that total commitment to Him may lead unsafe and uncomfortable situations. Can you think of examples in the news where Christ followers risk it all? Have you suffered persecution or other negative consequences because of your identity Christ? Share with your group.

Read Romans 10:9

15. T or F? Becoming a Christian is a very complicated process.

LEADER NOTES

1. The Lord
2. Twins, prophecy of 2 separate nations, one stronger, and reversal of tradition where the firstborn inherited the birthright.
3. F. God’s choice of Jacob for the position of leadership had nothing to do with the comparative goodness of the two sons (Romans 9:12). Though God’s choice was absolutely sovereign, his choice of Jacob was reflected in Jacob’s attitude as well as Esau’s. The younger Jacob deeply valued the birthright. The older Esau despised it.
4. He never saw his mother again, his brother wanted to kill him, he was deceived by his uncle Laban, his family became torn by strife, Esau became the founder of an enemy nation, he was exiled from his family for years.
5. God is sovereign. Jacob would have been the leader and the father of the nation of Israel anyway.
7. Christophany- the pre-incarnate Christ. He “touched” his hip socket. Jabob must have realized that his opponent could take him at any time.
8. “I will not let go unless you bless me.” Jacob begged for God’s favor. We do not earn or grab His blessings; He gives them when we are surrendered.
9-10. True encounters with God bring obvious life transformations and great blessings. These processes are painful, but in His sovereingty, the Lord allows them. He shines the best through broken/cracked pots.
11. Jesus turned the world’s values upside down.
12. Very few powerful and well-known people achieve their success through humble, self-effacing and gentle ways. It is not impossible, however!
13. We should have an audience of one- our Lord!.
14. Pastor Sayeed, Christians in the Arab world being martyred, among others.
15. False! It is not! If we believe in our hearts and say with our mouths that Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved!

Easter – Discussion Questions

Easter Week is Here!

MAIN POINT:

Each of is guilty of sin and we work hard to overcome that. But, no matter how hard we work we can never be good enough. The good news is that Jesus chose to take our sin upon himself so that we could have eternal life.

ICEBREAKER:

When you were in high school, you probably had times when you were covered up with things to do and deadlines. So, one morning you realize that you have forgotten your math homework. You run into one of your best buddies and tell him about your problem. He tells you that you can copy his math. What happens from here?

INTRODUCTION:

On Good Friday both Jesus and Barabbas were in chains in prison. It was no accident; they were both there for a reason. Barabbas was a victim of Roman rule; Jesus was there by design. These two represented heaven and hell; Barabbas represented each of us. He was a perfect picture of a man trying to work his way to heaven. Barabbas was trying to overthrow Roman rule in his own strength. None of us asked Jesus to take our place; he offers this as a gift. God treated Jesus like Barabbas so he could treat Barabbas like Jesus. We’ve all been slaves to something. And then there is grace: God’s unmerited favor. “It is by grace we are saved…” (Ephesians 2:8). We don’t deserve this gift. Even though we continue to sin, our position of saved does not change. Every time we fall and then ask for forgiveness, God forgives because Jesus’ blood covers it all. Now, what will you do with Jesus? After you have confessed your sin, asked God to forgive you and received salvation, you are ready for the next step of obedience: baptism.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Romans 5:8
1. How do we know that God loves us?
2. When did Jesus die for us?

Read Ephesians 2:8-9
3. Explain “grace.”
4. Why does the scripture stress that grace is a gift?

Read Romans 10:9-10, 13
5. Why can we not just think to ourselves that “Jesus is Lord” instead of having to say it aloud?
6. What does it mean to be “justified?”
7. Which individuals can be saved?
8. Who did Barabbas represent?
9. It’s been said that “religion” is “man trying to work his way to heaven.” How is Christianity different than this definition of religion?
10. How can a child sex abuser and/or an alcoholic be forgiven?

LEADER NOTES

1. He sent his Son to die.
2. While we were still sinners.
3. God’s unearned favor.
4. So we’ll know that grace cannot be earned by works
5. Be willing to say to the world what God has done.
6. declared in right standing, acceptable to God
7. all
8. us, all sinners
9. Jesus died to pay for our sins because we could never be good enough or work hard enough.
10. same way as anyone else.

Get Planted – Discussion Questions

MAIN POINT:

In order to flourish, we must be planted in the House of the Lord, and this is best achieved in a SMALL GROUP. (Ps. 92:12-14)

ICEBREAKER:

What was your biggest fear with regard to joining a small group?

INTRODUCTION:

In a few days, FP will kick off the start of our Easter celebration. The church will start early morning prayer time asking God to move in a Big Way to bring souls to be saved. We believe thousands will be saved, and hundreds will be baptized. Pastor Chris challenged us to invite those people God has placed on our hearts. That is the first part of the Great Commission, but we must not neglect the second! That is “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you…” (Matthew 28:20 ASV). We cannot grow as spiritual nomads. Our roots will never connect to the body of Christ on our own. We are a team, and Jesus intended for us to do this together. We learn through the Scriptures that no one is called to ministry alone, and even Jesus Himself built a Small Group before He launched His ministry. We must compel people to come and show them how this matters to us. Once they are saved, we must help them to be planted in a new family in the House of God. Following Jesus is more than a twice per month experience. It is completely surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus 24/7!

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read our theme verses for the year, Psalm 92:12-14.

1. These verses referred to palm trees, which are known for their long life, and to the Cedars of Lebanon, which were enormous trees that were solid, strong, and immovable. When we place our faith firmly in God, we can have this strength and vitality. Where is the best place to flourish in the House of the Lord?

Read Ephesians 4:7-8, 11-12.

2. Did the Lord give us all spiritual gifts?

3. Are they the same gifts? Why or why not?

4. What gifts has the Lord given you? How do you use them? If you are unsure of your gifts, you can ask the Lord to show you, and your small group can help you discern them. Once you figure out your gifts, what is the next step?

5. True or false? Together we can accomplish more together than we would dream possible working by ourselves. Working together, the church can express the fullness of Christ.

Read Matthew 10:5.

6. Were the disciples sent out alone? Why or why not?

Read Acts 2:44.

7. The believers at that time shared everything they had so that they all could benefit from God’s gifts. Share how you have a grown and benefited from being in a small group.

Read Luke 14:23.

8. Where are believers told to go? To do what? Why?

9. Where can you go? Where are you going this week to invite people to Easter Services? Whom are you inviting?

Read Acts 2:41-42.

10. How many people became believers when Peter preached the good news about Christ?

11. What did they do after they were saved?

12. What do new believers need to do today after they have been saved? Why?

Read Matthew 28:19-20.

13. What are these verses known as?

14. What is the first part? Second part?

15. Where are we told to go? Where are we told not to go?

16. Is this an option?

17. Where is the second part of these verses fulfilled?

Read John 5:1-3, 5-9.

18. We were all once like the paralyzed man at the pool. We are saved, and we must return to that pool and lead others in this hurt and dying world into the healing waters of Jesus Christ. Where will you go?

LEADER NOTES

1. Small group
2. Yes
3. No. We each are a part of the larger body of Christ working together.
4. To serve
5. True
6. No. Jesus did not intend for us to do this alone. Together, we can love each other, support each other, teach other, and provide accountability.
8. “Highways and hedges”, bring them into the house so it may be filled.
10. 3000
11. After being baptized, they continued in teaching and fellowship, breaking the bread, and prayer.
12. Join a small group to be surrounded by a community of believers to “flourish in the house of God”- learning God’s word in a supportive, loving and prayerful environment. Pastor shared that groups are where faith comes to life.
13. The Great Commission
14. Go and make disciples of all nations. Teach them to obey the Lord’s commands.
15. To all nations. Trick question- The Gospel is on offer to ALL! Jesus died for the sins of all people from all nations.
16. This is not optional.
17. The Great Commission is fulfilled in small groups.
18. When you go, remember becoming a Christian is not complicated. If we believe in our hearts and say with our mouths that Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved (Romans 10:13).

Easter Explosion – Discussion Questions

Easter 2015-SQUARE

MAIN POINT:

A strong burden of the heart overcomes fear. Having a burden for the lost and unchurched will produce a boldness that will enable us to overcome the fear of inviting others to experience God. Remember God’s family is open to everyone!

ICEBREAKER:

Each of us can recall wanting something so much that we were willing to do whatever it took to obtain it. Tell about a time when there was something you really desired and the sacrifices you made to acquire it.

INTRODUCTION:

We live in a world full of lost and dying people. They are on their way to Hell and eternal separation from God. We must stop thinking Heaven and God are for only a select few. Our hearts should become so burdened for others that we are willing to do whatever it takes, short of sinning, to bring them into God’s family. Things such as fear of rejection, or being inconvenienced must not stop us. Satan’s number one weapon is our fear. A burden that is so strong that it produces boldness will overcome this fear. Don’t let fear of a lost relationship deter you from sharing with others, it’s better to risk being separated from a friend on earth than for the friend to spend eternity away from God.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read John 4:35.
1) Notice that the time of harvest is still four months away, yet the fields are white NOW. If we lift up our eyes and look we will see. Why don’t we see the fields are ripe for harvest?
2) It’s easy to become comfortable and complacent with our little cliques. God wants everyone to experience His love. Think of ways to avoid falling into this rut.
3) Pastor Chris made the statement that we are war with Hell for lost souls. What does this mean to you? How do we fight back?
4) What does it look like to invade our schools, work, and play for Christ?

Read Romans 9:2-3.
5) Do you think Paul was burdened for lost souls? To what extent?
6) What do we know from Paul’s writings in the New Testament that he was willing to endure to reach others with the good news of Jesus?
7) Discuss ways in which our own burden for others can drive us to be bold.

Read Luke 14:16-24.
8) We see that the ones originally invited to the banquet made excuses not to attend. Their excuses were flimsy at best. We should expect similar excuses as well when inviting others to church or a life with Jesus. List some of the excuses that might be encountered. List ways to overcome these excuses.
9) After the first invitees refused the invitation, to whom did the banquet host send his servant out to invite?
10) Discuss the types of people we encounter each day that are overlooked or avoided. Now brainstorm on ways to reach out to them.

LEADER NOTES

It’s easy to become comfortable with our own kind, failing to see there are others that are in the same condition of needing Christ just as we were before someone reached out in love to us. We have to develop a burden for others, we must pray for them, love them, and invite them. We might also need to actually bring them. We have to develop a burden for others that will drive us to make sure no one we know or encounter goes to Hell. Paul had this type of burden and endured beatings, prison, shipwrecks, and snake bites among other things just to go to where the people with spiritual and physical needs were living. The people the master sent the servant out to invite in the latter part of Luke 4:16-24 were the very outcasts, misfits, and rejects of the world that society avoided. They felt these people didn’t matter. We encounter the exact same type of people today and we need to pray that God opens our eyes to see these lost and hurting souls in the same way He does.

The Walking Debt Week 4 – Discussion Questions

MAIN POINT:

God wants us to prioritize the resources He gives us and be willing to live by the Bible’s teachings about saving and investing.

ICEBREAKER:

Tell the group how you learned to set up a budget. If you do not have a budget, what is the biggest value you see in setting up a budget after hearing the last few messages?

INTRODUCTION:

Seventy-two per cent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. There are three critical categories to save for: first, emergencies. Save up to build an emergency fund. Secondly, save for purchases, like furniture, Christmas, cars, and vacation. Thirdly, invest for future needs, such as kids’ college and retirement. In order to save for future times, we must embrace sacrifice today. Say “no” to self now for a better life later. We need to prioritize our dollars so that our money can work for us. A formula to follow for investing is money+time+consistency=wealth. Scripture encourages us to be savers and investors, not just consumers. However, don’t invest in anything you do not understand. Be careful that you find a knowledgeable mentor. Don’t put all your investments in one basket. Don’t try to get rich quick. We have become accustomed to instant gratification. Instead, be a marathon investor. In other words, plan to invest consistently over time. God’s Word has financially sound principles for those who want to be free from money’s bondage. To get started, make a budget and take a class, like Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” To register for this class at Faith Promise, click here.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

Read Proverbs 6:6-8.
1. What can we learn from the ant?

Read Prov. 21:20.
2. A foolish man uses up all his resources as soon as he can. What does the wise man do?

II Thessalonians 3:10.
3. What is Paul’s harsh advice?

Read Matthew 25:14-30 or have someone paraphrase the parable of the talents.
4. How does God expect us to handle the resources He gives us?

Read Prov. 24:3-4.
5. This verse demonstrates the value of wisdom. How can Christian gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom regarding money?

Read Ecclesiastes 11:2 (also see introduction).
6. What old saying is 
Ecclesiastes akin to?

Read I Timothy 6:9.
7. Is money the downfall or is it greed? What happens when we try to get rich quick?

Read Prov. 13:11.
8. How does this verse advise money handling? Is this sound advice for today?

9. Why is it so hard to wait to buy something you really want instead of just using credit?

10. Do you have a better lifestyle than your parents?

11. See introduction. Explain how the formula for wise investing works.

LEADER NOTES

1. The ant gathers and prepares for the future.
2. A wise man stores away for future needs.
3. If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. Note that Paul is not advocating turning a blind eye to those who are unable to work-see 1 Timothy 5 for his instruction on caring for widows.
4. He expects us to be wise; to save and make investments.
5. Find a mentor. Take classes. Live by a budget.
6. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Diversify your investments.
7. Get rich quick schemes do not work.
8. Gather little by little and with integrity and money will grow. This is still wise advice today.
9. & 10. Opinion
11. money+time=consistency=wealth. If a person routinely puts aside/invests even a small amount every payday, eventually that money becomes a large sum.

The Walking Debt Week 3 – Discussion Questions


WE NEED YOU!

The groups ministry is seeking additional writers to write discussion questions which parallel the weekend message. If you would like to serve in this ministry please contact Dustin Scott at DustinS@faithpromise.org.

MAIN POINT:

Tithing is a Biblical principle that only 20% follow.

ICEBREAKER:

Share about a time in your life when you sacrificed something (time, money, or talent) in the present to gain something in the future. Was it worth it?

INTRODUCTION:

The concept of tithing (giving back to God the first 10% of all of our income) can be seen throughout scripture, from Cain and Abel in Genesis to Jesus’ words on tithing in Matthew 23:23. Although there are numerous scriptures regarding money and tithing, statistically only 20% of Christians tithe. There is a disconnect between the truth we read in God’s word and the generosity (or lack of generosity) in our lives. Pastor Chris preached that his belief is that there are 2 main reasons that 80% don’t tithe: lack of faith and fear.

ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:

1. When did you first hear about tithing? Did you grow up in a traditional church and it was something that was always done, or was tithing a brand new concept when you became a Christian?

Read Leviticus 27:30

2. This verse claims that the tithe is holy. Have you ever thought about your tithe as being holy (sacred, set apart for God)?

3. Do you know where your money is going? Do you have a budget? If someone else manages the money in your house, do you know if your family is tithing?

Read Malachi 3:10

4. Pastor Chris shared that there are two marks of a covenant people: tithing and Sabbath. Why do you think these two things are so difficult to follow?

5. One of Satan’s greatest weapons is fear. What do you fear about giving?

6. Is a lack of faith in God’s provision (“if I give then maybe I won’t have enough”) causing you to withhold your tithe? Does the promise in Malachi 3:10 give you strength?

7. Can anyone share a story of how God provided during a past time of need?

8. What will it cost you to obey God financially? What might you have to sacrifice?

LEADER NOTES

Leaders this discussion is not meant to induce guilt. Everyone starts somewhere, and our goal is for everyone to be growing closer to God and following Biblical principles in their own lives.

If members of your group need help budgeting or getting out of debt or managing money, please encourage them to attend the Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Classes begin March 22. You can register for the class by clicking here.