April 22 - Dave Kieffer: Ps 126

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1. How might you either minimize or exaggerate tough situations in your life? (To yourself? To others? To the Lord?)
2. Why are you tempted to do so?
3. How can you remember the Lord rightly while you endure significant loss and pain? (How has he acted in the past to restore?)
4. What does it look like for you to sing faithfully even while you continue to endure loss?
(i.e. How can you sing till you believe it? Sing even when you have nothing left to offer? Sing through tears until they become shouts of joy)

April 15 - Brendan Beale: Rom 1-8

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1) What has been your own experience with memorizing Scripture?

2) Did hearing Rom 1-8 recited in a large chunk impact you differently other ways you may have studied the book?

3) As you listened what truths stuck out to you from Rom 1-8?

4) What other disciplines can you (individually or as a group) build in to your lives in order to hear the truth of God’s word in fresh ways?

April 8 - Dave Shive 2 Cor 12:7-10

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1) Dave suggested that there were four ways people tend to respond to affliction:

            - fighting the affliction
            - focusing on getting relief from the afflictiion
            - resigning themselves to the affliction
            - embracing the affliction

Which of these do you most naturally default to? How has that shaped your view of affliction in your life?

2) CS Lewis said that “…God shouts in our pains…” How have you experienced this reality in your own life?

3) Read v. 9. Dave suggested that a good paraphrase of “my grace is sufficient for you” is something like: “My grace is enough that you don’t need Me to remove this problem.” How does this verse influence your perspective on affliction in your own life?

4) Paul states in v. 10 that he is “content with weakness” – how is that attitude different than simply enduring weakness?

5) “Comparative uselessness is the condition for freedom from suffering” – what does that mean? How do you see this truth reflected in 2 Cor 12:7-10? In other Scriptures?

 

Easter/Good Friday 2018 Mark Sweeney

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Good Friday

- “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” – In what way are those who mourn blessed?

- Do you feel like the church is a safe place to grieve/mourn?

- What has been your own experience of mourning as a follower of Christ? What things grieve you now? How do you minister to one another as a group as you mourn?

Easter

- Read Jeremiah 2:12-13. How would you explain the truth of this verse to someone?

- What are some of the “broken cisterns” you have looked to in your own life?

-  Read Rom 8:31-39. How does the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection influence your perspective on your own sin? How does it change you view of the “messes” that so often characterize life in a fallen world?

March 25th - Brendan Beale Mark 10:35-11:11

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1)      What examples of Jesus’ “weirdness” can you think of, and what do they teach us about him?

2)       James and John thought of Jesus as a way to further their own ambitions. How did Jesus redefine greatness for them, and how does his definition of greatness challenge you?

3)      What did Bartimaeus ask Jesus for? What would it look like to be more like Bartimaeus and less like James and John?

4)      Russell Moore’s quote (below) challenges Christians to stop “prizing the powerful over the powerless.” What are some ways that you individually, or we as a church, might be guilty of doing that?

“The struggle [to have a consistent pro-life witness] isn’t a matter simply of the church versus the world, but of Christ versus the church. We must repent of the way that we, sometimes without even knowing it, have prized the powerful over the powerless. Let’s stop highlighting in our church testimonies and publications how God “blesses” the millionaire who tithes. Let’s stop trumpeting the celebrity athletes and beauty queens as evidence of God’s blessing… What would it mean for your pro-life witness if your local congregation were served by a deacon or worship leader with Down syndrome? what would it mean for your pro-life witness if the person reading Scripture this next Sunday isn’t polished for performance but instead is the stammering voice of an elderly woman in the beginning stages of dementia? It would signal that life is about more than perceived usefulness.”
 

March 18 - Dave Moyer John 17, part 3

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Thinking over Dave's three-week "Introduction" to John 17, what would be some of your biggest takeaways?

What are some steps we can take to protect unity in the church?

What are some of the ways we "witness" to the unbelievers in our lives?

What are some of the ways we can demonstrate the love of the Father in our own relationships?

State in your own words Jesus' desire for us in verse 24

March 4 - Dave Moyer John 17:1-5

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1.      Discuss Dave's assertion that John 17 is the "Real Lord's Prayer".

2.      Read Matthew 6:9-13. What connections might we make with John 17:1-5?

3.      How might the opening verses of John 17 (1-5) impact our own prayer lives?

4.      How does a proper understanding of "Eternal Life" inform our Gospel presentations?

5.      How might we imitate Christ in our own prayer life?

6.      What are some specific strategies we can implement to align our priorities with Jesus' priorities?

7.      What is your purpose in life?

8.      How can we mirror or imitate Christ in the way we demonstrate our priorities purpose, and practice?

9.      What are some strategies or ways we can make our priorities more like Jesus’ priorities?

10.  How do you tend to think about your purpose in life? What challenges or conflicts come to mind? How does Jesus’ prayer change or impact that?

Feb 25 - Sean Nolan Rev 6:9-11

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At times it can be surprising how little we, as Christians, discuss what heaven will be like. What vision do you currently hold of what heaven will be like? (either the current heaven, or the final state) What Scriptures would you use to support your answers? Are there things about heaven that surprise you?

One theme within this passage is the justice of God and his wrath upon those who reject his rule. Discuss among the group your understanding of the justice of God? Have you ever struggled with this doctrine? What has helped you come to grips with it? Have you ever been able to find it a comfort?

The white robes are given to the martyrs as a symbol of victory. Yet, they are told to “wait a little longer.” They, like us, await the final fulfillment of Christ’s Kingdom coming to earth. Have you thought of the now/not yet aspect of God’s Kingdom? What are some ways you’ve experienced victory now in Christ? What are some ways that you are still awaiting the final rest and victory in glory?

It may seem that God is slow to fulfill his promise to return in judgement. However, 2 Peter 3:9-10 informs us that his delay is to offer more opportunities for men to repent and be saved. Who do you know that needs to be saved from their sin? Take some time to pray for them as a community group.

Feb 18 - Trevor Chin Acts 14:19-20

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1. Trevor said that “when you do something for God, folks come out of the woodwork to oppose you”. Have you experienced this in your life? How do you deal with feeling “beat down”? How do you encourage others who are feeling that way?

2. We see tribulation and hostility in Paul’s ministry (and of course in Jesus’s as well). How does this inform your expectations for what it means to follow Christ?

3. “What God has for you is found in the middle of opposition” – how have you seen this in your life?

4. What role did community and the church have in Paul’s ministry in this passage? How does your group serve one another when a member is feeling “beat down”?

5. What do you learn about suffering from Paul’s return to Lystra after he was stoned?

 

 

Feb 11 - Dave Shive Mark 1:35; 2:17

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1. Dave said that “prayerlessness robs us of a sense of purpose” – can you relate to that statement? How about the inverse – how have you seen prayer build a sense of purpose in your life?

2. “The disciples were sincerely motivated, but confused about Jesus’ priorities” – can you think of examples in the Gospels of this dynamic?  Has that ever been true in your life?

3. Dave talked about the value of knowing you were valued by your father – do you feel valued by God? Have you ever felt like God didn’t value you? How do you deal with that?

4. Jesus had a clarity of purpose – he often said that he did what his Father was doing. Do you have a sense of what God has called you to in this life? Where does that sense come from?

5. Dallas Willard said “Joy comes naturally when we are confident about who we are and what we are doing. With Jesus we have both.” How do you cultivate this kind of joy in your own life? How do you cultivate it as a group?

 

Feb 4 - Sean Nolan Gen 47:1-12

Community Group Questions — 2/4/2018 Few & Evil Days: Genesis 46:29—47:12

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1. Take a minute as a group to share some of the various promises that God had made to Jacob (or his “fathers,” Abraham, Isaac). What ones do you see coming to fruition in this passage?

2. While at initial glance it might seem like a punishment that Joseph’s family would remain outside the city limits in Goshen, in actuality it provided an opportunity for them to remain uncorrupted from Egypt’s false religion/gods. What can we learn about God from this? Are there any New Testament passages that come to mind?

3. Jacob has an opportunity to meet the most influential leader of the world in this passage. While never disrespecting Pharaoh, he also does not worship him (as was custom in Egypt). Have you ever been starstruck in the presence of someone else? How does this interaction give you perspective on the proper way to honor other—even those in seemingly “greater” positions than yourself?

4. Joseph’s family refers to themselves as “sojourners” (wanderers/pilgrims/exiles) several times in this passage. Have you ever thought of yourself in this way? (NOTE that the New Testament refers to us similarly in 1 Peter 2:11-17 — you may want to consider reading this text with your group).

5. In many ways we are probably more like Jacob than different. He refers to his days as evil. Have you ever been guilty of hyper-focusing on suffering in your life and forgetting the many positive blessings God has provided for you? How can you be reminded of God’s promises going forward? How can your community group help?

6. Joseph—just like Jesus (Phil. 2)—is not ashamed to be associated with lowly shepherds. How can you be a blessings to the lowly in your life (neighbors/family etc.)?

Jan 28 - Mark Sweeney Romans 12:1-2

Community Group Questions 1/28/18

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Spiritual Worship – Romans 12:1-2

1. Is this a familiar passage to you? Do you find it difficult when reading familiar passages of the Bible to let their truth really impact you?

2. What does it mean to worship something? If someone were to observe your life, what things might they conclude that you worship?

3. What do you think it means practically to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice”? What does that actually look like in your life?

4. Paul tells us not to be “conformed to this world” – in what ways are you tempted to be conformed to the world?

5. What is the significance of passive imperative “be transformed”? How have you seen your own life transformed as you have followed Christ?

6. How have you experienced God’s will as “good and acceptable and perfect”. How has your view of God’s will changed as you have followed Christ?

 

Jan 21 - Dave Moyer

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  1. Read Isaiah 6:1-13 and discuss the variety of ways Isaiah was impacted as a result of his heavenly vision.
  2. Why is Isaiah's vision so important to modern day believers?
  3. Read Revelation 4 and discuss its similarities with Isaiah 6.
  4. What are some of the reasons we fall short of seeing a complete, Biblical vision of the character of God?
  5. How might we cultivate a better understanding of the character of God?
  6. Share different ways we might respond to Isaiah's vision.

Jan 14th - The Rest of Jesus - Matt Smith

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1) Can you think of a time when you took a break or a vacation and afterward, you needed a vacation from your vacation because it wasn't restful? Share with the group your story. Why do you think this was the case?

2) Read the text carefully. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. What words or phrases stand out to you the most and why? What points in the message impacted you the most and why?

3) A yoke is a horizontal wooden bar laid on the neck of oxen. Everyone has a yoke. We are all attached to something/someone that is pulling us in a certain direction. What kind of functional yoke do you struggle with that produces internal and external exhaustion in your life? (i.e. popularity, approval of others, relationships, money, work, being a 'good Christian', the perfect spouse or parent, etc) Would you be open to asking a friend or someone in the group what they observe about your life regarding this question?

4) If Jesus really is our sin-bearer, shame-bearer, guilt-bearer, judgment-bearer then the way we find real soul rest is at the foot of the cross. What do you think keeps you from experientially living in the good of this wonderful promise and invitation that Jesus offers in Matthew 11:28-30? 

5) Matt said, "We will never embrace this promise of rest until we know the one who made it." How could you better get to know the one who extends this invitation to you? How could others encourage you to look more to Jesus and renew your mind with the hope of the gospel? 

6) Is there one specific take away point of application for you either from the message and/or our community group discussion?

 

 

January 7th - Solemn Rest

Questions in PDF format

Community Group Discussion Questions - Sabbaticals         1/7/2018

Ice Breaker: What mundane, daily task do you hate? (ex - taking out the garbage).

Sermon Discussion:

1 - Read Lev 24.3 - 5.

2 - What might a sabbatical imposed on farmers teach them about life, possessions, money and time?

3 - Farmers got this 7th year sabbatical. Merchants didn’t. Why?

4 - For hundreds of years, college professors have taken sabbaticals. Why college professors, and why not, say, plumbers?

5 - Read 1 Ki 19.4 - 8.

6 - What’s the back story? Why was Elijah so exhausted? And why was he filled with anxiety?

7 - How does the Lord Jesus (“the angel of the Lord”) treat him in his weariness?

8 - Read Mark 6.30 - 32.

9 - How do you feel about Jesus inviting his men to go away from the crowds, and to get a break?

10 - What are some things we can do to make Pastor Greg’s sabbatical a real help to him?

Take Home: Why might faithfulness to church be especially important during the time of Pastor Greg’s sabbatical?

Some additional questions put together by the Headley/Touryan group (author credit: Natalie Headley). Use them if you find them helpful!

Discussion Questions

1. Greg's sabbatical reminds us that we all need to find rest in different areas of our lives at one time or another. It may be from work, relationships, parenting, social commitments, volunteer roles, etc. Think about a time in your life when you needed rest. What steps did you take to feel relief? Restated: When you are feeling particularly overwhelmed how do you, personally, propel yourself forward? 

2. When Greg addressed the congregation, he said something along the lines of wanting Lisa and his children to experience him as energized and focused, not fatigued and burned out. We can all probably relate to those types of feelings. In Matthew 4:4, when Jesus was being tempted, he said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." What are practical ways that we can feed ourselves with the Word in our everyday American lives that tend to be over packed and scheduled down to the minute?

3. Is your rest in the Word? Do you have specific passages that you turn to when you seek comfort?

What we've read so far in the book of Ephesians encourages us to pray for our local church. Ephesians 3:14-19 says, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." 

Keeping this in mind, let's pray for the spiritual strength of our church.     

Prayers Around the Room

(Each person gets a slip of paper with a prayer and reads it aloud.)

1. Lord of peace, may You give the Dutcher family peace at all times in every way (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

2. May Your steadfast love be before Greg's eyes, as he walks in Your faithfulness (Psalm 26:3).

3. Lord, may Mark be strengthened with all power, according to Your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:11).

4. May Sean have wisdom from above that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, and impartial and sincere (James 3:17).

5. May Ed be completely humble and gentle, patient and bearing with others in love (Ephesians 4:2).

6. Lord, may the elder candidates be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9).

7. May the church volunteers serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving You, Lord, not men (Ephesians 6:7).

8. May the church missionaries take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of Your Spirit, which is Your Word (Ephesians 6:17).

9. May the youth of our church hear Your words, God, and do them, like the wise man who built his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24).

10. May your children at CFC know they are saved by grace through faith - not of their own doing, but by Your gift (Ephesians 2:8).

11. God, may all your children at CFC love one another, for Your Word says love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7)

12. May each member of our community group honor You, Christ the Lord, as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks him for a reason for the hope that is in him, yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).