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Showing posts from May, 2009

LIFEgroup Questions: Will the Planet Earth Survive?

How do you think the world will end?  
Do you worry about the end of the world?  Why or why not?
What things have you observed that you believe are signs the end is near?
Read Revelation 21:1-8.
How do you think things will change when God lives with men on earth?  How do you think things will be the same?
Jesus says He will "make all things new."  What is the one thing for which you are most excited to see the "new version"?  Why?
According to this passage, for whom is the new heaven and new earth reserved?
Who will not be a part of the new creation?  What is these people's destiny?
How can Christians use this passage to encourage one another?
After reading this passage, how does your relationship with God need to change?
How should this passage lead us to interact with our unsaved neighbors/co-workers/friends?

Guiding Without Controlling

by Clark Cothern

People shifted in their seats, looking first at each other, then down at their Bibles. Janice didn't seem to notice. She just kept on talking, answering almost every question in the guide before anyone else could speak.

As the group members shuffled out after the study, Martha, the hostess, gave encouraging looks, as if to say, "I understand." She was concerned some might stop coming if Janice continued to dominate the group's discussions.

Does this scenario sound famililar? Almost anyone who has been in a group study can identify with the feelings of frustration that result when one member controls. What can be done about a leader or group member who assumes the role of "expert" and dominates discussion?

Establish ground rules.
This is preventative maintenance for your group. Each time you begin a study, make sure the group understands the guidlines for group study. One way to do this effectively is to pass out guidelines (try writing th…

Three is Enough...

Todd Hunter is the creator of Three is Enough groups. These are micro groups designed to fascilitate spiritual formation in the lives of their members. Todd says, "Spiritual transformation into Christlikeness has always been the true goal of Christian faith—now it is utterly strategic."

Explaining the concept of TIE (three is enough), Todd writes:
Three is Enough Groups have a double meaning: they are three friends or colleagues doing three simple and humble activities.
Three Is Enough Groups will go on the Journey Inward of spiritual transformation and the Journey Outward of serving others.TIE groups are built around three practices in which each group engages:
Try out new ways to prayRead and interactServe others in creative, in out of sight, but genuinely helpful ways.As someone who likes a trinitarian approach to practical matters of ministry (ie. 3Relationships), I really like the simplicity of this. I could see this approach being integrated into small groups quite easily.…

Why Does God Allow Suffering (LIFEgroup Questions)

Have each person list five things in life that bring them joy.

Have each person talk about suffering they've recently endured.

As a group, read James 1:2-4.

What parts of this passage seem to go against common sense? What parts of this passage make sense?

According to James, what is the purpose of suffering?

What is perseverance? Make a list of synonyms for perseverance.

Have a few people share how their past suffering helped them develop "perseverance".

How can perseverance enable someone to grow in their relationship with God?

List some ways perseverance is a character trait which enables us to better love the people around us.

How would you describe a "mature Christian"? What are the character traits and personal habits of a mature Christian?

Can someone be a mature Christian without suffering? Why or why not?

Think about the ways you have most recently suffered. How can you demonstrate joy in those situations? (if you have time, discuss how "joy" might be di…

Soul Disturbance

Frances de Sales (1567-1622), a bishop of Geneva, Switzerland, was well known as a preacher and writer.

"Do not be anxious about anything," [the Apostle Paul instructs us in Phil. 4:6].

Anxiety is the source of various temptations in the spiritual life. How exactly does it come about?

Distress Ahead
Sadness is the grief we feel when we experience an evil contrary to our will. The evil may be exterior, such as poverty, sickness, or contempt; or interior, such as ignorance, spiritual dryness, discontent, or temptation. When the soul is conscious of some such trouble, it's downcast, and so sadness sets in.

Then at once we begin to try to get rid of the trouble and to find the means to shake it off. So far, we have done no wrong, for it is natural to desire good and shun what we see to be evil.

If we strive to be delivered from such troubles out of love of God, we will strive patiently, gently, humbly, and calmly, looking to God's goodness and providence for our delivera…

LIFEgroup Questions: Do I Have a Destiny?

If you were given five minutes to speak to the U.S. Senate, what would you say?

Read Acts 17:24-31.

Paul says God doesn't "need" anything from us. How can that truth help you trust Him?

Why is it sometimes hard to trust God?

Would you rather control your own destiny or have God control it? Why?

According to verse 27, God wants men to "reach out for him." What do you think it means to "reach out for God?"

How do you "reach out for God?"

Read verse 31. One common destiny awaits all men. Death and judgment.

After the judgment, what destiny awaits those who did reach out for God? What destiny awaits those who did not?

How should this truth change your life? How should it change your relationship with God? How should it change your relationship with the people around you?

How to Ask Questions

This was originally posted at groupleader.com

Many people have fear leading a small group.Some are afraid that they don’t know enough. Others have a fear of being the lead person in a group.Small groups are not designed for a leader to be a lecturer, but simply a facilitator.In order to facilitate a small group, one of the keys to success is knowing how to ask questions.The small group the facilitator’s role is to start conversations.Most small group studies have a leader’s guide so questions are already in print for them to read. When there is no leader’s guide, simply knowing how to ask questions can get the conversations going. Questions need to provoke thought.Questions with a simple yes or no answer do not open up conversations.Ask questions that allow someone to comment.Once those details are out in the open, the leader is able to move to other questions from that response or introduce another question that may be related to the previous answer.Always ask questions so that everyo…

Extended Benefits

by Esther M. Bailey

Our small group had been struggling to find the right study material. After a sermon one Sunday, I got an idea. The pastor's words had challanged me to take a step forward in my Christian life, but I easily lose the long-term value of the sermon without any follow-up to strengthen the message. Since our group members all attend the same church, I though, Why notbase our discussions on the sermons?

I suggested the idea, and the group embraced it with enthusiasm. While we don't expect life-changing experiences every time, we have seen positive results. Here are a few ideas that worked for us.

Preparation. I write down Scripture references and main points from the sermon each week and encourage other members to do the same.

Starting discussion. I may open the meeting by relating an "aha" moment I had during the sermon. People are usually quick to offer comments and additional insights. Other times I ask for a one-or two-sentence overview of the …

What Makes Something Right or Wrong?

Ultimately, our opinion of "right and wrong" will have the most significant impact on our decision making. It is actually our decision making that is the practical application of our belief. This discussion is designed to be a biblical survey of decision making principles.
Read Exodus 20:2-17 and/or make a list of the 10 Commandments.
How might the 10 commandments serve as a guideline for living rightly today? Create a list of issues which don't seem to be covered by the 10 commandments.
Read Mark 12:28-24.
How might these 2 commands serve as a guideline for living rightly today? Create a list of issues which don't really fit under these two commands.
Have someone in your group read each of the following passages. After each reading, have the group discuss how this passage can serve as a guideline in decision making: Psalm 119:105Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 15:22Romans 14:13-161 Corinthians 10:31-331 John 2:15-17As a group, read Galatians 5:18-25.
Have group members discuss…

Confessions of a Lousy Small-Group Leader

by Jeremiah Hayes

Small groups don't always turn out like we plan. But all God requires of a small-group leader is a faithful commitment to build friendships and invite people to see who Jesus is.

I’m a lousy small group leader, and I value comfortable, clean living. It should come as no surprise, then, that while I was lamenting my rather dismal mid-term grades in the convenience of my comfortable apartment (complete with two bathrooms, a wide-screen high definition TV, surround sound, and a spacious, well-tended yard), I was visited by the Lord of the Universe who had a slightly unwelcome suggestion. On our beloved New Mexico Tech campus (although it is not well known), there exists a dark prison reserved for incoming freshmen guys called West Hall. Posing as a dormitory, West is actually a place where unwitting high school graduates are contained within solid brick walls, cold floors, and shared bathrooms with a lingering fragrance that torments nearby souls. It would appear the …