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Showing posts from March, 2010

Search to Belong: Group Dynamics

Currently, I'm trying to post a few times a week summaries of chapters from books I've read over the past few years. These are the books that have really informed my thinking on discipleship and small groups. Hopefully, they'll provide a good opportunity for you to think through some of these same thoughts.

Today, I'm looking at chapter four from the book The Search to Belong by Joe Myers. This chapter is entitled, "Group Chemistry."

The introduction to this chapter includes three important questions:
Does everyone need to be in a small group to experience significant, healthy community?Do small groups help or hinder a person's search to belong?Are small groups honestly the most significant way a person can grow in relationship to others and to God?Meyer's questions are a reaction against the stream of evangelicalism over the past decade which has suggested that "small groups" are a magic bullet to solve all things your church needs. Later in …

Chronicles of the Kingdom: LIFEgroup Questions for Palm Sunday

What is the closest you've ever been to a celebrity? What did you do or say? Was it a good experience or a bad experience?

Near the end of his life, Jesus was a celebrity of sorts. Why do you think this was?

As a group, read Matthew 21:1-11.

Read Jesus' instructions in verses 2-3. How would you have felt if he gave those instructions to you? Why do you think the disciples obeyed him?

Why do you think Jesus chose to ride a donkey instead of a horse into Jerusalem?

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the crowd treated him like a king. In your opinion, what did they expect him to do next?

Undoubtedly, many people were disappointed when Jesus didn't fulfill their expectations. Have you ever known someone who was disappointed when God didn't meet their expectations?

What are some unrealistic expectations we sometimes have of God? What can we do to keep our expectations of God rooted in truth? How can the time we spend in God's Word influence this?

Which of th…

Songs of the Kingdom: LIFEgroup Questions from Ecclesiastes 12

What is the best advice you've ever received?

As a group, read Ecclesiastes 12:1-8.

Verses 2-7 are a description of how life changes as we grow old. Discuss what you think the following expressions are describing about the aging process:
"the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened""the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent""the doors on the street are shut -- when the sound of grinding is low"
"they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way""the mourners go about the streets""the dust returns to the earth as it was" Why do you think Solomon was painting such a negative picture of the aging process?

Verse one says, "Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth..." Why is it better to be thinking about God when you are young rather than when you get old?

Do you think it is easier to serve God when you are young or when you are old? Why?

Read verse…

St. Patrick's Day!

In case you're scrambling tonight, or if you're looking for something to bring some sanctification to your St. Patrick's celebration, here's a short discussion guide based on today's holiday. You can read more about St. Patrick here.



pdf here

Fun With Lists (a group exercise)

My group did this last week, and while some were hesitant at first, all of us enjoyed the exercise and came away having grown a little bit.

Here is a link to the pdf of this study.

The rules are really quite simple:
Begin with one person adding one item to one list.
Moving clockwise, everyone takes a turn adding one item to one list.
Each person must choose a different list each time it is their turn.
Each person may only "pass" once.



Once your group has filled all the lists ask two questions to the entire group:

1) What is one item someone added to a list that made you smile? Why?
2) What is one item someone added to a list that challenged you? Why?

Encourage everyone to keep their lists handy throughout the week as a reminder of how to pray for each other, passages they can be encouraged by, or anything else which might benefit them!

Taking Up the Cross (from Christ's Call to Discipleship)

Currently, I'm trying to post a few times a week summaries of chapters from books I've read over the past few years. These are the books that have really informed my thinking on discipleship and small groups. Hopefully, they'll provide a good opportunity for you to think through some of these same thoughts.

Today, I'm looking at chapter three from the book Christ's Call to Discipleship by James M. Boice. This chapter is entitled "Taking Up the Cross".

This was a powerful chapter, so powerful in fact, that I decided to simply post several of Boice's quotes without any of my own commentary. He's a better writer than I am anyway.

there is a fatal flaw in the professing church today: a lack of true discipleshipwhat is lacking is ...the need for self-denial, expressed as taking up the cross. In this area it is not only self-denial that is lacking; it is an area about which we do not even speak.This would be puzzling to saints who lived before us. If t…

Songs of the Kingdom: LIFEgroup Questions from Psalm 150

If you could boast about one thing right now, what would you choose? Why?

If someone asked you to boast about God right now, what would you say? Why?

As a group read Psalm 150 and answer the following four questions:
Who are we to praise?Where are we to praise him?Why are we to praise him?How are we to praise him?What are some things or people we are sometimes tempted to worship? How can you avoid these temptations?

"Praise" is a word that appears regularly in this Psalm. In the Hebrew, it is the word from which we get "Hallelujah". Basically it means to give highest praise to or about someone, to celebrate them, or to boast about them.

As a group, list 7-10 "boasts" you can make about God right now.

The author of this Psalm undoubtedly thought of the Temple as God's tabernacle. Where is God's tabernacle presently? How does this change where we worship him?

What do you think it means to worship God in the "heavens?"

What are some of the great …

Songs of the Kingdom: LIFEgroup Questions from Psalm 51

Do you have any good "restoration stories"? (cars, houses, relationships, etc.)

What types of emotions result when a broken relationship is restored? Why is it often so difficult to restore a broken relationship?

What kinds of things cause our relationship with God to be broken? How do we restore our relationship with God?

Read Psalm 51:1-6. Which of these verses make the biggest impression on you? Why?

What character traits does David use to describe God in these verses? How does David speak of himself in these verses? Do your feelings about yourself ever seem similar to David's?

Read Psalm 51:7-12. What does David want God to do for him?

In verse 12, David talks about the "joy of salvation". Have you ever experienced the joy of salvation? How would you describe it?

Have you ever had a time when you felt that God "restored" your relationship with Him? How did you respond?

Read Psalm 51:13-19. Verses 13-15 talk about how we respond after God forgiv…

Four Steps to Positive Prayer

I'm going to use this small group discussion tonight with my group. It's a "How to Pray" exercise designed to help people think of prayer as more than just a vending machine approach to God. Click on the picture below to get the pdf file of the study.



By the way, the four steps are:
PreparePosturePraisePursue