SONGS OF SUMMER: A THOUSAND WORDS

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Psalm 23: 1The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, 3He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

SONGS OF SUMMER: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Psalm 22: 1My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? 2My God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. 3Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the one Israel praises. 4In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. 5To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame. 6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. 7All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. 8“He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let Him deliver him, since he delights in Him.” 9Yet You brought me out of the womb; You made me trust in You, even at my mother’s breast. 10From birth I was cast on You; from my mother’s womb You have been my God. 11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. 12Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. 15My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; You lay me in the dust of death. 16Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. 17All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. 18They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. 19But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. 20Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. 21Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. 22I will declare Your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise You. 23You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel! 24For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25From You comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear You I will fulfill my vows. 26The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise Him—may your hearts live forever! 27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, 28for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations. 29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31They will proclaim His righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

When life is rough and it seems like you are all alone, what will you do to remember that God is enough?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Thank God for His faithfulness, and ask Him to remind you of His presence whenever you feel alone.

SONGS OF SUMMER: REMIXING YOUR MORNING

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Psalm 5: 1Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. 2Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. 3In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. 4For You are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with You, evil people are not welcome. 5The arrogant cannot stand in Your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6You destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful You, Lord, detest. 7But I, by Your great love, can come into Your house; in reverence I bow down toward Your holy temple. 8Lead me, Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies—make Your way straight before me. 9Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 10Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against You. 11But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. 12Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What do you need to do in order to go to God, give your requests to Him, and get excited for Him each morning?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the desire to spend time with Him in the morning.

SONGS OF SUMMER: THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP ( Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Psalm 1: 1Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. 3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. 4Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  •  What jumps out to you in the passage?
  •  Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  •  What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  •  What seems interesting or unusual?
  •  What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What concrete steps will you take to delight in God’s Word?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the desire to read God’s Word and delight in it.

PLAN A #5: THE RISK IN KNOWING GOD’S PLAN

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Esther 4:1-17: 1When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why. 6So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. 9Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11“All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” 12When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 15Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 17So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What are you going to do to let God of YOUR Plan A and allow God’s Plan A in your life?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the courage to let go of YOUR Plan A and find freedom and life like you’ve never experienced before in HIS Plan A.

PLAN A #4: (DIS)QUALIFIED FOR GOD’S PLAN A

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

  • Matthew 4:18-20: 18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20At once they left their nets and followed Him.
  • Matthew 16:21-23: 21From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. “Never, Lord! he said. “This shall never happen to You!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
  • John 18:8-11: 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He. If you are looking for Me, then let these men go.” 9This happened so that the words He had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those You gave Me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?”
  • Matthew 26:69-75: 69Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. 70But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. 71Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” 73After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” 74Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
  • Acts 2:14,41: 14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say….” 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

PLAN A #3: THE SECRET TO FINDING GOD’S PLAN A

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

PLAN A #3 – THE SECRET TO FINDING GOD’S PLAN A

MAY 12, 2019

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Proverbs 2:1-11: 1My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. 9Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

“We become what we behold.” Therefore, if you want to know God’s best plan for your life, 1) read God’s Word; 2) listen to godly counsel, and 3) pray.

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Pray for illumination. Ask God to open your mind so you can understand His Word and apply it to your life. Pray for wisdom. Ask God to help you make good, God-honoring decisions. And pray prayers God can’t say ‘no’ to – pray for things you already know are God’s will for your life (an attitude of trust, and faith, and obedience, and humility, and teach ability, and for His gospel to spread….).

PLAN A #2: UNDERSTANDING GOD’S PLAN A

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

  • Ephesians 5:15-18: 15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,
  • Colossians 1:9-10: 9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
  • Matthew 7:16-20: 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7: 3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What practical steps will you take to live out God’s will in your life in the following areas? 1) Be filled with the Holy Spirit; 2) bear fruit and know Him better; 3) be sanctified; and 4) rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the perspective to see that everything that comes from Him, even the trials and hardships, is under His control and guidance to shape and mold you in His new creation.

PLAN A: GOD’S PLAN A

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Jeremiah 1:4-10: 4The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” 6“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. 9Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

John 15:5,16: 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

Have you settled for less than what God has in store for you? What steps will you take to follow God’s will?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you a heart for the world, and to have the boldness to follow where He leads, regardless of where that is.

THE EASTER EXPERIENCE: JESUS IS ALIVE

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

EASTER EXPERIENCE #3 – JESUS IS ALIVE | APRIL 21, 2019

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Luke 24:13-35: 13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing Him. 17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19“What things?” He asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; 21but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find His body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. 28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if He were going farther. 29But they urged Him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke the bread.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

How can you experience the power and purpose of Jesus in your life every day?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Thank God for sending Jesus to die for your sins, and ask Him to remind you each day of the power He gives through a risen Savior.

THE EASTER EXPERIENCE: JESUS IS KING

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

John 12:12-19: 12The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. 13They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” 14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16At first His disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about Him and that these things had been done to Him. 17Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb and raised Him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18Many people, because they had heard that He had performed this sign, went out to meet Him. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him!”

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

Is Jesus YOUR King? Or have you placed yourself as the king of your heart? What can you do to live Palm Sunday every day?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the desire to daily surrender to Him as your King.

THE EASTER EXPERIENCE: JESUS IS GOD

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

  • Luke 18:35-43: 35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41“What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. 42Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
  • Colossians 1:15-16, 19: 15[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. 19For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in [Jesus], 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What do you need to do to acknowledge Jesus’ position so that you will experience His power in your life?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Call on the Name of Jesus to acknowledge that He alone is God.

REST #3: POWER OF NO

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SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE- Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

  • Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
  • Daniel 1:8-21: 8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. 17To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. 18At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus

OBSERVATION- Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION- Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What will you do this week to put into action the 30-day challenge of saying “No”?

PRAYER-Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the wisdom to know what you need to say “No” to, and the courage to have the discussion(s) you need have.

REST #2: THE SABBATH PRINCIPLE

SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Exodus 20:8-11: 8Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Matthew 12:1-13: 12At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” 3He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” 9Going on from that place, He went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 11He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So He stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What will you do this week to put into action what you learned about Sabbath rest?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Ask God to give you the desire and boldness to do what you need to do to honor Him by choosing to schedule Sabbath rest.

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REST #1: PART OF THE PLAN

SOAP Process for Fellowship Groups

SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) is a structured method of helping individuals and groups to process, journal, reflect on, and apply God’s Word to their personal lives.

SCRIPTURE: Read out loud the assigned passage(s) of Scripture two times. Allow God’s Words to settle deeply into your heart and mind.

Genesis 2:2-3: 2By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.

Exodus 31:14-17: 14Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death. 16The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”

Mark 2:23-27: 23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as His disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 27Then He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

OBSERVATION: Observe the text individually in silence. Write down your insights. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal truth to you.

Write down as many observations as you can about the passage(s).

  • What jumps out to you in the passage?
  • Who is it written by? Who is it written to?
  • What’s one thing you didn’t notice before?
  • What seems interesting or unusual?
  • What comes before and after the text?
  • Is there repetition, comparison, or contrast?

APPLICATION | Discuss the observations that each of you made and talk about how to apply the teaching to your everyday lives.

What will you do this week to put into action what you learned about rest?

PRAYER | Close with prayer.

Pray that God would allow you to ‘catch your breath’ this week in a way that honors Him. Ask Him to help you build this into your life on a regular basis.

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PRAYERS OF PAUL- GOD’S WILL

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

On the final week of our Prayers of Paul sermon series, we’re looking at Paul’s prayer for the Colossian church. The church allowed false teaching that mixed Greek philosophy with Christian theology: they added to the requirements for salvation. Paul’s letter stated the case for Christ being the fullness of God, the all-sufficient Savior. And in his prayer, he asked that God would “fill” the Colossians with “the knowledge of His will”, which would give them a greater understanding of the supreme Savior.

SCRIPTURE

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12

GROUP QUESTIONS

What is your IF/THEN? (If you could just have Jesus…AND… _____________, THEN…)

In this series we’ve already looked at three prayers. Read Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 3:17, and Philippians 1:9. What is Paul asking for in these prayers?

Read Colossians 1:9-12. The passage begins with “For this reason”. What is “this reason”?

List what Paul is requesting in this prayer:

Why is knowledge of God’s will and spiritual wisdom necessary for believers?

What can you learn from this prayer about finding God’s will for your life? (See also Romans 12:1-2.)

Are you REALLY interested in knowing God’s will for your life? Or are you afraid of what He might ask you to do? How can you overcome this fear and follow His will? (See Matthew 11:28-30.)

APPLICATION

Do you know God’s will for your life? If so, do it. If not, pray that you would be filled “with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives”.

Pick three people to pray for this week using the four prayers of Paul as a guide (Ephesians 1:17-19; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11, Colossians 1:9-12). Write an action plan for how you will accomplish this: When will you pray? How long will you pray for? Ask someone in your Fellowship group or a close Christian friend to hold you accountable to do this each day this week.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Compare Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12 to Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. What do you learn from the similarities and differences in these prayers?

Both Philippians and Colossians mention “fruit”. What do you learn about “fruit” from the following passages? How can you apply what you learn to your life?

  • Matthew 3:7-10
  • Matthew 7:15-21
  • John 15:1-16
  • Romans 7:4-6
  • Galatians 5:16-25
  • Ephesians 5:5-13
  • Hebrews 12:11
  • James 3:17-18
  • Hebrews 13:15

PRAYERS OF PAUL-ETERNITY

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

The Book of Philippians brims over with often quoted passages: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6), “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21), and “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (4:13). Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians in appreciation for all they had done for him. And though they were in the midst of persecution, they remained faithful and grew spiritually, which was a great encourage to Paul. He begins this letter with gratefulness, and then prays a prayer for them with eternity in mind.

SCRIPTURE

1To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:1-11

GROUP QUESTIONS

If God answered all of your prayers this week, what (outside of your own personal life) would change?

Read Philippians 1:1-11. What is the overall tone of this passage? What do you learn about how Paul feels about this church?

List what Paul prays for the Philippians in verses 9-11.

Commentators suggest that when Paul prayed “that your love may abound more and more” he was praying for a “continual overflowing increase of super abounding love”. How would this kind of love change your view of the world and your interaction with it?

What is the relationship between love and knowledge?

How do you define “discernment”? What is the relationship between knowing God and being able to discern what is best?

What is “the day of Christ”?

Paul prays that the Philippians would be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ”. What is this “fruit”?

Is this how you pray? If not, how will this passage motivate your prayer life?

APPLICATION

Each day this week, pray Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11 for you. Also choose at least one other person to pray this prayer for.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

“The Day of Christ” is connected with “the Judgment Seat of Christ” and “the Day of the Lord”. Look up the following verses and write what you learn about this “day”.

  • Matthew 16:27
  • Acts 2:20
  • Acts 10:42
  • Romans 2:16
  • Romans 14:10
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • Ephesians 6:8
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:2
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4
  • 2 Peter 3:10
  • Revelation 20:11-14

PRAYERS OF PAUL: LOVE

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

God, the Creator of heaven and earth, has all power and unlimited resources. He longs to pour His power and love into your life through His Spirit. As you continue to trust Him, your relationship with Him grows. In Ephesians 3, Paul is moved to pray that the power and love of God would be known fully by believers. God is able! Have you restricted this power in your life?

SCRIPTURE

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

GROUP QUESTIONS

  • What is your most fervent prayer?
  • Read Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul begins with “for this reason…”. What is the reason he is praying this prayer?
  • List what Paul prays for in this passage. What stands out to you?
  • The word “kneel” means to lay prostrate. In Paul’s time, Jews stood when they offered prayers. Only in extraordinary times or in unusual passion would they kneel/prostrate themselves. Why do you think Paul was so concerned about the Ephesians that he “knelt” in prayer for them? (See Revelation 2:1-7.)
  • Joe shared that the word “dwell” has the connotation of inviting Jesus to make Himself at home in your life. Does the thought of Christ living in your life in such a complete manner make you excited, or does it make you uncomfortable? Why?
  • What does it mean to be strengthened “with power through His Spirit in your inner being”?
  • Do you think it is truly possible to understand the full extent of God’s love? Why or why not?
  • How would you describe God’s love? What experiences have you had that inform your understanding of God’s love?
  • How do you expect to change as you become more confident of Christ’s love and more filled with His power?

APPLICATION

Do you feel like the power of God is pouring out of you? Or is it a slow trickle? Read through the three ways Joe shared that can restrict your access to the power of God and determine if there are any bottlenecks in your life:

* Your attitude toward God: Are you making decisions based on what you want rather than what would bring a smile to God’s face? Is God being squeezed out of your busy schedule? Are your priorities pushed to the limit and God is getting your leftovers? If so, surrender to Him. Physically prostrate yourself before Him, acknowledging that He is God.

* The inner man: When life gets tough do you give up? Question God? Are there areas of your life that you need to daily surrender to Jesus? Ask Jesus to make Himself at home in your life. Pray that He would give you the inner strength that pushes you towards seeing, thinking, and doing the right thing in every situation.

* Locked doors: Have you kept Jesus in certain areas of your life and out of others? Surrender the mess to Him…all the thoughts, actions, addictions, and pride. Let Him come into those areas of your life and painstakingly clean them up. Give Him access to the ugly parts of your life…and He will give you freedom like you’ve never experienced!

FOR FURTHER STUDY

How does the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 compare to the prayer in Ephesians 1:17–21?

What do the following verses say about God’s power in relation to believers?

  • Acts 1:7-8
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9
  • Colossians 1:28-29
  • 1 Corinthians 2:2-5
  • Ephesians 1:18-21
  • 2 Peter 1:2-4

PRAYERS OF PAUL- THE POWER OF GOD

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Do you believe prayer matters? That prayer makes some type of difference? As a church, we believe that God hears us when we pray, and that prayer actually makes a profound difference, both in our own personal life, and also in the world around us. Over the next four weeks, we will look at four powerful prayers of Paul and discover timeless truths about hope, love, righteousness, and God’s will.

SCRIPTURE

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, 19and His incomparably great power for us who believe.

Ephesians 1:15-19a

GROUP QUESTIONS

Share with your group how you have seen prayer make a difference in your life.

Read Ephesians 1:15-19a. Paul mentions hearing about what two characteristics of the Ephesians Christians? Do you notice these things? If so, does it stir your heart to prayer?

Why do you think Paul was so appreciative of the faith of the Ephesians?

What word/phrase emphasizes the fact that this was not just a one-time prayer Paul prayed?

What do you think these four requests of Paul mean?

  • “give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation”
  • “that you may know Him better”
  • “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”
  • “that you may know the hope to which He has called you”

Aaron mentioned the difference between “know” (gnosis*) and “know” (epignosis**). Paul uses the word “epignosis” in verse 18. How can you “know” (epignosis) God more?

Do you believe all prayer should be for spiritual things? Why or why not? (See Philippians 4:6.)

How often do you pray for health issues, protection, finances, etc.? How often do you pray that you or others may know God better?

Read Psalm 2:8. God is not short on power; we are short on faith to access His power. How will you access more of His power this year?

*gnosis = to have cognitive knowledge

**epignosis = to have experiential knowledge

APPLICATION

Pick up the journal at church and write it in daily.

Text 21PRAY to 797979 to sign up for daily prayer encouragements from Fellowship. As the texts arrive, spend time meditating on the words and Scripture that have been sent.

Pray this for yourself and at least one other person this week:

1) that God would give you/them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better; 2) that the eyes of your/their heart would be enlightened; 3) that you/they would know the hope of His calling; 4) that you/they would know the riches of His glorious inheritance; and 5) that you/they would know His incomparable great power for those who believe.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

* Ephesians 1:18 speaks of the “hope to which He has called you”. When you think of the things you hope for, what are they?

* According to commentaries, “the word ‘Hope’ (elpis) expresses a desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope in Scripture is the absolute certainty of future good. Not ‘I hope so’ but strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in future. It is an expectation or confidence.” Read the following verses and write what you learn about our “hope”.

  • Colossians 1:27
  • 1 Timothy 1:1
  • Titus 2:11-14
  • 1 Peter 1:3

* Read Ephesians 1:3-14 and 2:6-7. List all of the things that could be considered “the riches of His glorious inheritance”

WHO IS JESUS? JESUS IS OUR PEACE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

The last two weeks we’ve been studying Colossians 1:15-20. Paul makes the exact same point six different ways: 1) [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God (v 15a); 2) [Jesus] is the firstborn over all creation (v 15b); 3) By [Jesus] all things were created (v 16); 4) [Jesus] is before all things (v 17); 5) [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church (v 18); and 6) God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in [Jesus] (v 19). In this passage, Paul is saying that Jesus is God. But as God, He didn’t come as a conquering king, or a super hero; He chose to come as a baby, and He chose to be born into extremely humble beginnings. And He came offering “peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

SCRIPTURE

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

GROUP QUESTIONS

How have humans tried to achieve peace? How effective have we been?

Read Colossians 1:15-20. How does Jesus “reconcile to Himself all things” and “make peace”? What are “all things”?

Why does reconciliation and making peace with humanity matter to God?

Read Luke 2:6-14. What is your definition of peace?

Aaron defined peace as “wholeness, completeness”. Does this definition change how you view peace?

The angels declared “peace on earth” at the birth of Jesus, but has there been “peace on earth” since His birth? If not, what do you think the angels meant by this declaration?

Read Isaiah 9:6. What are the four titles of Jesus in this prophecy?

The Hebrew phrase “Sar Shalom” is translated “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. According to Aaron, “Prince of Peace” means “Chief of Rest”, “General of Wholeness”, “Captain Completeness”. Is this how you experience peace in your everyday life?

APPLICATION

All of the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—would be properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies by making peace through Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross. This is the reason for the season. This is why you celebrate. This is why Jesus left the perfection of heaven and entered the chaos of His creation. He came to be your peace…not just a feeling; emotion, or experience based on your surroundings, but Sar Shalom…the redemption, restoration, and reconciliation of every broken part in you. Meditate on this during the next week as you celebrate Christ’s birth!

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read the following Scripture verses in at least three different translations. Journal what God is speaking to you through these passages.

  • Psalm 55:22
  • Psalm 119:165
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Isaiah 54:10
  • John 14:27
  • John 16:33
  • Romans 12:18
  • Romans 14:19
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Colossians 3:15
  • 1 Peter 3:8-12

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WHO IS JESUS? JESUS IS OUR GUIDE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Our world is confused over who Jesus is…many say that He was a good man and a great moral teacher but not the incarnate Son of God. This is the teaching that crept into the church at Colossae and the reason why Paul wrote the Book of Colossians.

SCRIPTURE

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

GROUP QUESTIONS

What are some of the different views you have heard for who Jesus is?

Read Colossians 1:16-20. Does “firstborn over all creation” mean Jesus was created first? If not, what does it mean?

Read the following passages. What is the range in meaning of the word “firstborn”?

  • Psalm 89:27
  • Luke 2:7
  • Romans 8:29
  • Hebrews 11:28
  • Hebrews 12:22-23
  • Revelation 1:5

Paul wrote Colossians because the people in the church had become confused about who Jesus was (God). If Paul were to write to the Church today, what false beliefs do you think he would address?

Why is the deity of Christ important to your faith?

Discuss the meaning of these phrases in verses 17-18:

  •  “He is before all things”
  • “In Him all things hold together”
  • “He is the head of the body, the church”
  • “He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead”
  • “In everything He might have the supremacy”

Why is it important that Christ is supreme? What impact should this knowledge have on the way you live your life?

APPLICATION

Aaron re-read Colossians 1:17-18 with the understanding the Jesus is FIRST:

17 He is before all things, [So, Jesus is FIRST in everything] and in Him all things hold together. [because He’s FIRST] 18 And He is the head of the body, the church; [So, Jesus is FIRST in the Church…and…] He is the beginning [which means He’s the FIRST] and the firstborn from among the dead [again, Jesus is FIRST].

Is your view of Jesus full and complete? How will you give Him the position of FIRST in your life?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read the following passages and list how Jesus is described. Spend time this week mediating on Who He is.

  • Matthew 22:41-45
  • Mark 9:2-8
  • Luke 5:17-26
  • John 1:1-18
  • Hebrews 1:1-14

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WHO IS JESUS? JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

This is a season most of us love – lights, cookies, decorations, traditions, festivities, family. Christmas is now several months long; in 2013, the United States’ retail industry generated over $3 trillion during the holidays. For the next three weeks, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we are going to look at Colossians 1:15-20 and answer the question “Who is Jesus?” to help us re-discover the significance of Christmas.

SCRIPTURE

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Colossians 1:15-16

GROUP QUESTIONS

If you could ask Jesus ONE question about Himself, what would it be?

Read Colossians 1:15-20. What stuck out to you the most in this passage?

Why is it significant that Paul uses the term “image” to describe Jesus? (See Exodus 20:4, Hebrews 1:3, and John 1:18.)

What does it mean to be “the firstborn over all creation”?

Read the following passages. What do they tell you about Jesus’ relationship to creation?

  • Genesis 1:1, 26
  • John 1:1-3, 14
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6

What “invisible” things has He created?

What are the “thrones”, “powers”, “rulers” and “authorities”?

Since “all things have been created through Him and for Him”, this means that He created you for Himself. How does that make you feel?

APPLICATION

Each day this week, read through Colossians 1:15-16. Think of how Jesus is described in these verses, and then meditate on the incredible humility of His birth. Spend time in prayer thanking Him for being Emmanuel (God with us).

FOR FURTHER STUDY

In Colossians 1:15-16, Jesus is called “Image”, “Firstborn”, and “Creator”. Read the following passages and list the other names of Jesus. Which of these names are most meaningful to you?

  • Isaiah 7:14
  • Isaiah 9:6
  • Luke 2:11
  • John 1:1
  • John 1:29
  • John 1:41
  • John 6:35
  • John 8:12
  • John 8:58
  • John 10:9
  • John 10:11
  • John 11:25
  • John 14:6

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HAPPY LIFE: MONEY IS A TRADEMARK

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Over the last two weeks we’ve looked at how money is a tool God gives to advance the kingdom, and how it is a test that reveals your heart. But how you use your finances is also the Trademark of a generous God! What does God’s Trademark look like?

SCRIPTURE

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 10Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (MSG)

GROUP QUESTIONS

What saying best describes the way you view money?

  • “Waste not, want not.”
  • “Eat, drink, and be merry.”
  • “You can’t take it with you.”
  • “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
  • “Penny wise, pound foolish.”
  • “The one with the most toys at the end wins.”

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. List the principles and promises related to giving in this passage. Do any particularly stand out to you? Why?

What does it mean to give “under compulsion” (v. 7)? Have you ever done this?

Do you believe it is possible to have a vibrant faith and yet be ungenerous towards others? Why or why not?

If you are to reveal God’s Trademark of generosity, why is your motive for giving important?

Joe shared that the lack of generosity conceals God’s Trademark in three ways; what were those ways?* Have you noticed these in your life? If so, what does that say about generosity in your life?

Joe also said that generosity reveals God’s Trademark in what three ways?** How have you seen these revealed in your life?

If generosity is God’s Trademark to show an unbelieving world that you belong to Him, do you reveal or conceal God’s Trademark?

*How generosity conceals God’s Trademark:

  1. Fear rules your heart and mind.
  2. Distractions take priority.
  3. Self-centeredness becomes your natural position.

**How generosity reveals God’s Trademark:

  1. You trade the worthless for the worthy.
  2. You move from consumer to contributor.
  3. Your head and heart align.

APPLICATION

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not generous and 10 being very generous), rate your level of generosity. What is one tangible step you can take to grow in your level of generosity?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Psalm 112. What does it mean to fear the Lord? To be blessed?

What are some of the specific ways that God says He will bless you? Do you feel God has already blessed you in any of those ways?

Is God promising financial wealth and security in this passage? Why or why not?

Paul quotes Psalm 112:9 in 2 Corinthians 9:9. Who is the “they” in this passage? What do you think it means that “they have freely scattered their gifts to the poor”?

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HAPPY LIFE: MONEY IS A TEST

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Last week, Dave Oakley reminded us that God never intended money to be a tool used for personal happiness, but rather, a tool to advance His purposes in the world. Money is a gift given to us by God; it’s a tool to be used, not for our own personal advancement, but primarily for the fulfillment of God’s purposes in the world. Money is also a test of where your heart’s allegiance lies. Whom do you serve?

SCRIPTURE

17As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” He said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Mark 10:17-22

GROUP QUESTIONS

What is the most valuable thing you’ve ever owned?

Read Mark 10:17-22. What does the question the man asked reveal about him?

Why do you think Jesus asked the man, “Why do you call me good….No one is good – except God alone”?

Read Exodus 20:1-17. Which of the commandments did Jesus mention? Which ones did He leave out? Why do you think He didn’t include these in His question?

How did the man respond? Do you believe he was telling the truth?

What was the “one thing” Jesus said the man lacked?

Why do you think Jesus didn’t say anything about grace, faith, or being “born again” (see John 3:3)?

What did the man’s response reveal about his attitude towards his possessions?

Read Mark 8:34 and Philippians 3:7-9. How do these verses relate to Jesus’ response to the man to sell everything?

How do you think Jesus’s instructions to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor” apply to you today?

APPLICATION

There was one thing holding the man back from God. One thing keeping him from experiencing the happy life. One thing that kept this man from experiencing the fullness of God in his life; and it had everything to do with the allegiance of his heart. Jesus said that you cannot serve both God and Money. This week, consider what one thing is God calling you to “sell” in order to follow Him. This is not limited to material possessions – it can be pleasures or plans or dreams or even comforts and securities.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Aaron said that Money is capitalized in this passage because Jesus personified money as a rival to God. He suggested that money has intrinsic power that seeks to dominate. Money can be god-like, and because of this, Jesus knows that money is the chief competitor for your heart. Look up the following verses and list the principle you learn about money.

  • Psalm 24:1
  • Proverbs 3:9
  • Proverbs 11:28
  • Proverbs 22:9
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10
  • Matthew 6:1-4
  • Matthew 6:21
  • Matthew 6:24
  • 1 Timothy 6:10
  • 1 Timothy 6:17-19

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HAPPY LIFE: MONEY IS A TOOL

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

There are 2000+ Bible verses on money, wealth and possessions. Jesus spoke about money a lot and 11 out of His 39 parables touched on it. God knows that money, though morally neutral, can capture your heart and make you enslaved to it. However, when money is used as tool to invest in God’s kingdom, it becomes a powerful instrument for His purposes.

SCRIPTURE

38As He taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” 41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:38-44

GROUP QUESTIONS

Are you a “saver” or a “spender”?

Read Mark 12:38-44. What is Jesus’ warning about the “teachers of the law”?

What does it mean to “devour widows’ houses”?

Why do you think Jesus sat down near where the offerings were gathered?

What is the difference between the widow’s offering and everyone else’s?

Was the widow looking to be noticed? Do you think she knew Jesus was using her as an object lesson?

Discuss what it means to contribute “out of … wealth” and “out of … poverty.”

While Jesus held the widow up as an example of sacrificial giving, what other statement did He make about the religious, political, and social establishment?

Do you view money as a tool for God or as a tool for you?

APPLICATION

Examine your financial records in the last year. Write down your annual income, the amount you gave away (and where you gave it), and the amount you spent on possessions. Bring these figures before God and ask Him if He would like you to change the distribution of your income. Write down anything you sense Him telling you to do.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Mark 12:38-44, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. List principles of giving you learn from the 2 Corinthians passages.

How do these principles compare with the kind of giving Jesus commends in Mark 12?

Compare your list of principles with your current giving patterns. In what ways should you re-evaluate/change your giving in light of these teachings?

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HUNGER AND THIRST: REMOVING BARRIERS TO WORSHIP

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION: Last week we looked at David worshipping God with abandon as he brought the ark back to Jerusalem and asked, “What type of worship pleases God?” This week, we’ll look at how Michal’s, David’s wife, responded to David’s worship, and ask, “What is blocking you from truly worshipping Him with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind?”

SCRIPTURE

16As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 17And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts 19and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house. 20And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord. 22I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death. 2 Samuel 6:16-23

GROUP QUESTIONS

What is your first reaction when you see someone worshipping differently than you do?

Read 2 Samuel 6:12-15. How would you have reacted had you seen David worshipping like he did?

Read through the following and discuss what you learn about Michal: 1 Samuel 18:20-29, 1 Samuel 19:9-18, 1 Samuel 25:44, 2 Samuel 3:13-16.

Read 2 Samuel 6:16-23. What did Michal focus on as she watched David? Why do you think this was her main focus rather than focusing on the ark (presence) of God?

Why do you think she was not worshipping with the rest of Israel but rather was watching from above?

Besides dancing, how else did David worship God?

What were the three barriers Joe mentioned that blocked Michal’s worship? *

Do you see any of those barriers in your life? If so, what will you do to remove them?

* critical heart, self-absorbed attitude, unresolved baggage

APPLICATION

This week do a self-evaluation as to what is blocking you from truly worshipping Him with all of your heart, your soul and your mind. Is it a critical heart, a self-absorbed attitude, or some unresolved baggage? Something else? Ask God to free you from whatever is hindering you from worship.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Many consider “worship” and “music” synonymous. We have learned in the past two weeks that worship that truly pleases God comes from the heart in many different forms. Read each passage, and note what you learn about worship.

  • Genesis 4:1-7
  • Genesis 22:12-14
  • Malachi 1:1-14
  • Mark 12:41-44
  • Luke 7:36-50
  • Luke 22:41-43
  • Acts 5:1-11
  • Acts 16:24-26
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • Colossians 3:17

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HUNGER AND THIRST: A LIFESTYLE OF WORSHIP

INTRODUCTION: There are different types of worship because there are different types of people. Some worship quietly, others exuberantly. Some raise their hands, dance, tap their toes…. No matter your background; preference, or perspective, when it comes to worship, the most important question is: What type of worship pleases God?

SCRIPTURE

12Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, 15while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 16As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:12-16

GROUP QUESTIONS

Share with your group your favorite way to worship.

How did Aaron define “worship”? How would you define “worship”?

Read 2 Samuel 6:1-11. What did the Ark of God represent to the nation of Israel?

Have you ever been in a situation that felt unfair or simply unjustified, so you became angry with God? What did you do when this happened?

Aaron stated that David lost perspective of God’s greatness and His Power, and so he turned from God for a time. If this has happened at some point in your life (or you are in the midst of this), share your story with your group.

Read 2 Samuel 6:12-16. What prompted David to try again to bring the ark back to Jerusalem?

Why do you think he was successful this time? (See also 1 Chronicles 15:1-4,11-15.)

David’s joy in worshiping God overflowed into dancing; what does it feel like for you when you are enjoying God most? How does it outwardly express itself in your life?

Is your worship God-focused or “me”-focused? If it is “me”-focused, what can you do to re-focus your mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God?

APPLICATION

Re-read 2 Samuel 6:14. Pray and think through these questions this week:

  • Does your sense of pride affect your worship?
  • What stops you from worshipping God with “all your might”?
  • How can you better prepare yourself to worship God both personally and corporately?
  • Does your worship please God?

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Next week we will look at Michal’s reaction to David’s worship. In preparation, read the following Scripture and record what you learn about Michal.

SCRIPTURE NOTES
 

1 Samuel 18:1-30

 

 

1 Samuel 19:1-18

 

 

1 Samuel 25:44

 

 

2 Samuel 3:13-16

 

 

2 Samuel 6:12-23

 

 

1 Samuel 14:49

 

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PURSUE WHAT’S NEXT

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

PURSUE WHAT’S NEXT | OCTOBER 28, 2018

INTRODUCTION: We believe that God is asking each of us to embody a number of values, both as individuals and as a community of believers. These values are: 1) ON MISSION (joining Jesus in reclaiming humanity | Luke 19:10, John 20:21); 2) TEAM TOGETHER (leading with unity, wisdom, and humility | Ecclesiastes 4:9-12); 3) SECOND MILE, SECOND NATURE (serving others beyond what’s expected | Matthew 5:41); and 4) PURSUE WHAT’S NEXT (embracing God’s leading into the future | Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 1:6). Aaron shared on Sunday what it means to PURSUE WHAT’S NEXT.

SCRIPTURE

13During harvest time, three of the thirty chief warriors came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. 14At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. 15David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 16So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. 17“Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. 2 Samuel 23:13-17

GROUP QUESTIONS

Discuss as a group: tap water, filtered water, or bottled water?

Read 2 Samuel 23:13-17. What strikes you most from this passage?

What did David do with the water that the “three mighty warriors” risked their lives to bring him? Why do you think he did this?

What characteristics does this deed highlight in the “three mighty warriors”? What does this show about their relationship with David?

How can their example help you to embrace Jesus and pursue the next thing God has for you?

Discuss as a group your answers to the questions Aaron asked on Sunday:

  • Is your allegiance, affection, and loyalty to Jesus such that as He leads so you GO?
  • Is your allegiance, affection, and loyalty to Jesus such that you will pursue what He has next for you despite difficulty, discomfort, and opposition?
  • Are you willing to take risks to accomplish whatever He asks?

APPLICATION

Pursuing what’s next is more of a mindset and attitude than action and doing. It is a posture of the heart that sits as a lifelong learner. It is an openness to the next thing God is doing and embracing that rather than embracing the status quo. Spend time this week with Jesus, asking Him what He is looking for you to pursue next, and then boldly step forward as He speaks.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read 1 Samuel 22:1-2. Where did these “mighty warriors” come from? Why do you think they “gathered around” David?

Do their humble origins encourage you in your spiritual walk?

Read 2 Samuel 23:8-39 and 1 Chronicles 11:10-47 and list the names of the mighty men, along with the deeds for which they are known:

How many men are listed in all? What names stand out to you?

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