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Showing posts from April, 2009

The God Who Shares Your Pain

“God-with-us” is our best and deepest comfort
Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:1-14

Read(Matthew 1:22-23) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us”.

Comprehend We have lost the simple but difficult gift of being present to each other. We say, “Why should I visit this person? I can’t do anything anyway. I don’t even have anything to say. Of what use can I be? We have forgotten that it is often in “useless,” unpretentious, humble
presence to each other that we feel consolation and comfort. Simply being with someone is difficult because it asks that we share in other’s vulnerability, enter with him or her into the experience of weakness and powerlessness, become part of uncertainty, and give up control and self determination. And still, whenever this happens, new strength and new hope are being born.
Those who offer us comfort and consolation …

LIFEgroup Questions: Life After Death

The following group study is designed to be a simple discussion that really targets applying the truths we believe to our actions. The assumption behind this discussion guide is that most or all the people in your group believe in life after death. The one question that is to be answered is, "How does that belief make your life different from someone who doesn't believe in life after death?" The list of real life scenarios give you the opportunity to discuss how our belief in life after death should make us live differently that "the world".

Teaching Group Members How To Pray


Jesus taught the disciples to pray. Shouldn’t we do the same?
I’ve been in ministry for 34 years now. An unforgettable ministry conversation took place one afternoon after our Sunday gathering of Christ-followers. One of the small group leaders at our church was speaking with me about the growth he was seeing in his small group members. I was already on the edge of my seat but when he told me about one of the members who had prayed aloud for the very first time the week prior I was trounced on by a dancing heart. I’ve got to tell you, my internals were on the move. And as I was driving home that day, my tear ducts got into the game. You see, the “first time out-louder” the small group leader was telling me about has a fantastic wife and two incredible sons. During my drive home that afternoon I realized that these young boys were going to grow up in a home where dad prayed for them at the dinner table, by their beds, on vacation, etc… The list could go on and on. A…

Simple Strategy for Being Formative, Caring, and Missional

Mark 12 and John 13 identify three core relationship every disciple of Christ should be developing. These are our relationship with God, with Each Other, and with The World. LIFEgroups are designed to facilitate the development of these three relationships. Here are some very practical ways to accomplish this in your group.

Relationship to God (FORMATIVE)
Discuss last week's sermonDiscuss group member's personal Bible StudyDiscuss a shared book or curriculum guideSet and review personal goals for spiritual growth
Relationship to Each Other (CARING)
Share prayer requests with each otherPray for one anotherAssist one another in reconciling broken relationshipsCheck up on those who are absentMeet one another's needsPlan service projects within the church
Relationship to the World (MISSIONAL)
Discuss and pray about weekly opportunities for evangelismSet personal goals for evangelismPlan community service projects

Who Is God? He's the Creator!

Use Romans 1:18-25 to guide you as you work your way through these 20 questions designed to help you explore God's identity as Creator.

1. Are men really ungodly and righteous? Why or why not?
2. By whose standards are these judgments made?
3. What makes someone ungodly or unrighteous?
4. What truths about God do people suppress? Why?
5. What are the attributes of God that are clear to everyone?
6. How can creation point us to God?
7. Does it matter that God is immortal?
8. If God is the creator, what –if any– is our responsibility to him?
9. Why wouldn’t someone want to believe that God is the creator?
10. What do you think it means to “worship the creature”? Do people worship the creature today?
11. How does suppressing God’s truth make it easier for people to claim “wisdom”?
12. What is “wisdom”? Who is someone most non-believers think is wise?
13. Do people prefer “black and white” wisdom or “gray”? Why? Does God see in black and white?
14. Why does God consider man’s wisdom to be “fut…

A Double Salvation

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was a South African pastor and spiritual writer of the Dutch reformed Church.

All are familiar with the wonderful passage:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. - Phil. 2:5,8, KJV

Paul is speaking about one of the most simple, practical things in daily life - humility; and in connection with that, he gives us a wonderful exhibition of divine truth.
Consider he humility of Jesus. First of all, that humility is our salvation; then, that humility is just the salvation we need.

Straight from Heaven
Humility is the salvation that Christ brings. If we love Christ above everything, we must love humility above everything, for humility is the very essence of His life and glory, and the salvation He brings. Just think of it. Where did this humility begin?
Is there humility in heaven? You know there is, for [the elders] cast their crowns before the throne of God …

8 Ways to LIVE Missionally

Sometimes Christians spend so much time in the Christian box, they have no idea how to get out into the world. "Missions" becomes a program instead of a lifestyle. What's the solution?

Jonathan Dodson points out 8 simple ways ANY Christian can live a missional life.  While most people won't be able to do ALL EIGHT.  Almost anyone can pick 3-4 of these and make them regular habits.  Print out this list and pass it out to your group.  Encourage them to live missionally, then report on it next week.

1. Eat with Non-Christians. We all eat three meals a day. Why not make a habit of sharing one of those meals with a non-Christian or with a family of non-Christians? Go to lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family dinner. If it’s too much work to cook a big dinner, just order pizza and put the focus on conversation. When you go out for a meal, invite a non-Christian friend. Or take your family to family-style restaraunts where you can sit at…

The Power of Like-Mindedness

A study on how to obey the Bible's words, "be like-minded."
Philippians 2:1-11

Introduction: The apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, "Make my joy complete by being like-minded." This appeal to unity is the peg upon which everything else in the passage hangs. Verses 1-4 offer explanation, while verses 5-11 offer a real-life example in Jesus Christ.

1. According to verse 1, what factors in a believer's life make like-mindedness possible?
[Leader's Notes - Verse 1 identifies four factors: (1) the encouragement we have in our relationship with Christ; (2) the difference love has made in our lives; (3) the fellowship (partnership) produced by the Spirit; and (4) any tender, compassionate feelings we might have.]

2. How have you experienced these factors in your life? Give examples of times you've had encouragement in your relationship with Christ, or times you've seen the difference love makes in your life.

3. From verses 2-4, which trait…

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

The Message of the Cross: GOD DIED FOR MEN

As we approach Easter and focus our thinking on the cross and the work of Christ, it is important to remember that the significance of Jesus' death is rooted in the fact that He was God.  If He was not God, his death was no more meaningful than anyone else's.  Use this discussion guide to talk about the "deity" of Christ: Have different people talk about a time someone sacrificed for them. How did it impact their life?
Why do you think people aren’t more willing to make sacrifices for others?
What kind of example did Jesus give us regarding making sacrifices?
Some people would suggest that Jesus wasn’t really God. Read the following verses and determine what they teach about Jesus’ divinity:
John 8:57-59
John 10:30-33
Philippians 2:6
Colossians 1:15-20
Hebrews 1:3One of the most important passages about Jesus’ divinity is John 1. As a group go through verses 1-18 and make a note of all the things this passage says about the Word.
Have members of the group point to the verse…