Bible Readings for March 7-13

Ephesians 2

Would you say you once felt “dead in trespasses and sin?” Why can this passage be difficult to embrace, especially for those who grew up in a Christian family or environment?

How have you felt God make you alive again? What examples can you share of God turning graves into gardens, mourning into dancing?

If we have been saved by grace through faith and NOT from our own doing, why do we try so hard to not mess up?

Ephesians 3

How shocking was it for the Jews to discover that the Gentiles were also heirs of God? Is there any similar circumstances you can think of today or is that just so “beyond,” it can never be repeated?

Pray Paul’s prayer of verses 14-19 for someone today.

What is the most amazing, unbelievable thing God could do for you? How does it feel to know that as big as you can imagine, God can still do better than that?

Ephesians 4

How have you tried to live with humility, gentleness, patience, and eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit?

At times—OK, maybe often—Christians are not known for their unity. What is it that causes Christians to not be unified? How can we both live in and demonstrate unity better?

How do you work to build up the body of Christ?

Ephesians 5

How crazy does it seem that we should imitate God? How can we do this?

Have you made the most of today? Why or why not?

How do the specific roles you participate in on any given day affect how you follow Jesus? List your roles and then determine the most important way you can live for Jesus in that role. Now, go and actually live that out.

Ephesians 6

How do you get your strength and protection from God?

Which part of God’s armor do you most gravitate towards? Why?

Pray today that you and others you know will speak God’s word boldly.

 

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we be people who speak boldly in your name.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 28-March 6

Romans 13

Why do some people find it a challenge to submit to governing authorities? How does Christian beliefs—either yours or the governing authority’s—help or hinder this desire to submit?

Do you act as if you believe that God has instituted those in authority? In what ways?

How does loving others fulfill the law?

Romans 14

How well do you accept the weak? The strong? Why is this the case?

How might some be guilty of causing others to stumble?

Romans 15

What specific action might be considered “bearing with the weak?” In what ways do you act like this?

What has Christ accomplished through you to win others to him?

Romans 16

Why do you think Paul wrote this list of names to conclude this letter?

Ephesians 1

Verses 3-14 are one sentence in the original Greek. Summarize this “sentence” in your own words.

How has your life changed by being adopted as a child of God?

Who do you remember in prayers of thanksgiving and why? Have you told them this lately?

What does it mean for you faith that Christ is the head of the church?

Prayer for the week: “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, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1.18-21, NIV)

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 21-27

Romans 8

If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, why are there so many Christians who fear they are going to miss out on eternal life due to sin in their life?

What does it mean to walk by the Spirit and not by flesh? What examples can you give from your life that demonstrates this?

What are ways you remind yourself that the present sufferings you face cannot compare to the future glory that is to be revealed?

If God is for you, who can be against you?

Romans 9

Would it be difficult for you to say you wish you could be cut off from Christ for the sake of your kin or family? Why or why not?

Romans 10

How have you seen the truth of the following verse: “Everyone who believes in [Christ] will not be put to shame”?

In what ways are you the “beautiful feet” that share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ?

Romans 11

Why do you think Paul was concerned to show God’s love not only for the Jews—Paul’s own people—but for the Gentiles, as well?

Romans 12

What does “present your bodies as living sacrifices” look like for followers of Jesus today?

What specific actions do you take not to be conformed to the pattern of this world?

What gifts have you been given by God and how are you using them for the body of Christ?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we always offer ourselves to you as living sacrifices, loving others, rejoicing in hope, and in constant prayer to you.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 14-20

Romans 3

While we know that Paul as quoting the Old Testament when he writes “none is righteous,” what is your initial thinking as you read it? Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

How does the fact that “all have sinned” but “are justified by grace” affect what it means to live a life following God?

Romans 4

From what you know about the story of Abraham, how easy was it for him to have faith that the promise of God would come through Abraham’s offspring? What does this tell you about God’s promises?

Describe a time that you have “hoped against hope” for a promise of God. How did you waiting ultimately play out?

Romans 5

How has being justified through faith given you peace with God?

Is there anything else that is more certain that our hope in God? Why do we at times not act like this is the case?

What is your reaction to knowing that Christ died for the ungodly, that while we were sinners, Christ dies for us?

Romans 6

If you have died to sin, why do you continue to live in it?

Romans 7

Do you ever feel like the person Paul describes here, doing the very things you do not want to do? Why is it so easy for this to be a reality in our lives?

Who rescues you from this sort of life? How?

Prayer for the week: “God, we give you praise for sending your son to die for us, even though we were sinners. May we live in the faithfulness of him.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 7-13

Matthew 26

Are you surprised at Jesus’ response to the disciples’ reaction against the woman who anointed him? What response might you have thought him to make?

Do you think the disciples understood what it meant for Jesus to have his blood shed for them? How do you understand his shedding of blood for you and more specifically, your salvation?

How do you think you would have responded to those arresting Jesus if you were one of his disciples in the garden? In what ways do we react in the same way as these disciples when our own faith in Jesus is tested or challenged?

Matthew 27

How does Jesus’ response to his accusers compare to how we respond to someone accusing us, especially someone who accuses us falsely? What can you or should you change in your own life as a result of Jesus’ example?

If you had been a casual observer of Jesus’ crucifixion and heard all of the things that happened when he died, how do you think you would have been impacted?

Why is the message of the centurion at the cross so crucial to Matthew’s message?

Matthew 28

What did the women come to the tomb to find? Do you think the women were afraid? What reason would Jesus have to tell them not to be afraid?

What are ways you are going about making disciples? How can you make doing so more a priority in your day-to-day life?

Romans 1

What reasons might someone give for your faith?

In what ways is the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ power for salvation in your life?

What does it mean to live by faith? Does this describe your life? How can you do this better?

Romans 2

When you had a time in your life where you had to repent, what brought you to that moment? How much did God’s kindness move you to repentance? Why is his kindness important to moments of repentance in your life?

Paul writes that it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous, but those who are doers of the law. What does “doing the law” look like for us today in 2021?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we be always seeking to make disciples.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for January 31 – February 6

Matthew 21

How does the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem compare to what you would expect from a conquering king coming into his kingdom?

How did the crowds know they were to welcome Jesus as a coming king?

How do you think you would respond if someone came into our church building and began disrupting things? Is there ever a time when you think this was normal or called for?

Matthew 22

Who do we typically invite to our banquets (both literal and metaphorical banquets)? What would those banquets look like if we invited the least expected folk to take part of them?

How do you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind? How do you love your neighbor? How can you do these things better?

Matthew 23

In a classic example of how NOT to win friends and influence people, Jesus pronounces seven woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. As you read through Jesus’ criticism of the religious leaders, what specific ideas do you have about how to not do these things yourself?

Matthew 24

Why do impressive buildings and other signs of opulence and power attract people’s attention away from Godly power and strength?

How fearful are you of your future and the end times when Jesus returns? In what ways do Jesus’ instructions give you hope and peace, even in the face of potential trouble and hardship?

Matthew 25

What things have you done (or will you do) today to continue to ensure you are ready and anticipating Jesus’ return?

How faithful of a servant are you with what God has entrusted to you?

What can you do “for the least of these” today?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we always sing your praises in anticipation of you coming again.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for January 24-30

Matthew 16

Jesus’ generation sought signs to prove he was the Messiah sent from God. What does our generation seek to prove God’s presence or value today?

Why do you think Peter went so quickly from saying that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God, to saying things that caused Jesus to call him Satan?

What actions demonstrate our commitment to denying ourselves and taking up our crosses?

Matthew 17

How are you listening to Jesus today?

What does it take to have faith “like a grain of mustard seed”?

Matthew 18

What aspects of a child demonstrate a kingdom mindset? Does this describe you?

What do you need to get rid of that is creating for you a temptation to sin, even if getting rid of it might been seen as very drastic?

How often are you willing to forgive someone who sins against you? What does it take to forgive without limit?

Matthew 19

Who are the people we push away from Jesus rather than encouraging them to come to him? How can we draw them to him?

Would your possessions have prevented you from seeking eternal life if you had been the rich man who came to Jesus? Why?

Matthew 20

Why is it human nature to resent those whom we feel like get more than they deserve? How can we reverse this trend?

In what ways do you assume you should receive a select place upon your arrival in heaven?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for January 10-16

Matthew 6

Jesus mentions several practices (or spiritual disciplines) in this chapter that help us grow in our faith. Which of these disciplines do you regularly practice? How have they strengthened your faith?

In a world that provides plenty of fuel for a fire of anxiety, how do you heed Jesus’ words to not be anxious about anything?

Matthew 7

How are you putting the words of Jesus–both the words found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and the words of the gospels–into practice? What looks different in your life because you do what he says to do?

Matthew 8

What does this chapter tell you about the power Jesus possesses?

Matthew 9

How long did it take for you to decide to follow Jesus? What sort of person would cause you to simply get up and follow them, like Matthew did Jesus?

Are you praying for workers to be sent into the Lord’s harvest?

Matthew 10

How do you think you would have reacted to Jesus sending you out like “sheep amongst wolves?” In what ways do people continue to be afraid to rely on Jesus in the midst of trouble?

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Acts 9.1-9 – November 9, 2020

Acts 9.1–9

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 
 (Acts 9.1–9, NIV)

While we know him as Paul, the one who wrote a large part of the New Testament, he wasn’t always the follower of Jesus we know of him. People change when they see Jesus!

Thought Questions:

What reasons did Saul have to threaten followers of Jesus?

How do you think Paul reacted when he heard Jesus ask: “Why are you persecuting me?”

How do you think your life would have changed if you had encountered Jesus in the same way Saul/Paul did?