John 17.3 – March 21, 2020

John 17:3

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent (John 17:3, NIV)

In a world that seeks to live forever, it is nice to know how to find eternal life.

Thought Questions:

What are ways our world tries to live forever, or at least extend their life? How much time do you think people spend thinking about “life ever-after?”

How do we know God?

What does it say about God that he sent his son to us, versus hiding somewhere we we would have to try to find him?

John 16.33 – March 2, 2020

John 16.33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33, NIV)

No one likes trouble in their life, but doesn’t it make it easier to know that the troubles we face have all been overcome?

Thought Questions:

Would you say your life is one of strife or peace? Why do you think this?

How comforting is it to know that “in this world, you will have trouble”? How comforting is it know that Jesus has overcome that trouble?

How does (or should) your life look more peaceful knowing these words of Jesus?

John 1.1-18 – February 20, 2020

John 1.1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and  is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
 (John 1:1–18, NIV)

God loves us so much, he had his son come down from heaven and moved into our neighborhood, where he built a house and lived with us to show us God, our Father.

Thought Questions:

We know about Jesus as a human who lived on earth, but how does his divinity affect how you view him and what he accomplished by coming to earth?

In what ways does Jesus’ humanity–his coming to live on earth–cause you to appreciate him all that much more? How do you think you would think of Jesus had he NOT come to earth?

How would you respond to people who say we have never seen God?

Restoration – June 2, 2019

2 Samuel 19.11-20.13; John 21.1-15; Psalm 120.1-7; Proverbs 16.16-17

Most people who study John 21 recognize the three-fold restoration of Peter after his (three time) denial of Jesus. Read through this chapter again and as you do, list the various emotions and reactions you think Peter may have been having as he encountered Jesus that day? What does this story tell us about God’s love for us even when we have messed up?

Questions:

David seems quick to spare the lives of individuals who have attacked or confronted him, even when his advisors seem to think he should do otherwise. How can we take on the attitude David had toward those who were against him?

What do you think you would have been doing if you were one of Jesus’ disciples and he was killed, raised again, and went back up into heaven? What’s next for you?

Have you ever felt far from God, perhaps even felt like you were in a different county you were so far away from him? How did you keep hope in God through these dark times?

What examples can you give from your own life that demonstrate the ways you have valued wisdom more than silver and gold?

Conflicted – June 1, 2019

2 Samuel 18.1-19.10; John 20.1-31; Psalm 119.153-176; Proverbs 16.14-15

We know from what scripture says about David that he was a man after God’s own heart. We also know he was a man of integrity, honoring God even when it seemed to not make sense. We also know David was not without his faults and his family suffered the consequences of David’s sinful actions. And in the story today, we discover his deep love for his son, in spite of his sons actions towards him. How difficult would it have been to be David and love deeply, yet also know his love was aimed toward someone seeking to take his own life? What would you have done were you in David’s shoes?

Questions:

An unnamed man had more honor for David’s kingship and his son than some of the heros of David’s life. Why do you think this man who refused to kill God’s son is never mentioned by name? Why should he have received a greater honor than he did?

Why does seeing make believing so much easier? How do we believe when most of the time, we cannot see that in which we believe?

How does following laws and regulations revive someone, rather than causing them to be under a burden? Is this how you view God’s regulations?

What might cause a king to become angry and a deadly threat?

The Lord Is Working – May 31, 2019

2 Samuel 17.1-29; John 19.23-42; Psalm 119.129-152; Proverbs 16.12-13

You have to pay careful attention to the story of David and Absalom and their advisors. Just about the time you think one advisor (in this case, Ahithophel) has the upper hand and is influencing Absalom, another comes in and changes the wanna-be king’s perspective (as is the case with Hushai). In the midst of the tension of who will actually end up with the most influence, remember that at the end of the day, it is God who is at work and his plans will prevail.

Questions:

Why do you think Ahithophel had such a strong reaction to his advice not being followed?

Is there ever a time when it is appropriate to be a secret follower of Jesus? Why?

How have you found following God’s laws to be a simple thing to do? Do you find them more simple than complicated or vice versa? Why is this the case?

How do we show our love for people who speak honestly?

No King But Caesar – May 30, 2019

2 Samuel 15.23-16.23; John 18.25-19.22; Psalm 119.113-128; Proverbs 16.10-11

It is interesting to me that in the midst of a hurried trial to try Jesus for failure to follow the Jewish law, that the leaders of the Temple would suddenly exclaim: “We have no king but Caesar.” Let me get this straight: You want to kill someone for claiming to be the king instead of God, who is the only king, but you are willing to deny God as the only king and advocate Caesar as king … when it best suits your interests? What are other ways people “adjust” their allegiance to God when it benefits them?

Questions:

What do you think you would have been anticipating to happen in the future as you watched David your king leave Jerusalem because of the threats made by Absalom?

If Pilate knew Jesus was innocent–which it appears he did–why do you think he allowed him to be treated so brutally?

What does it mean to fear the Lord? Why is trembling in fear before him a good thing?

How does the Lord’s demand for “accurate scales and balances” impact how you do your job?