Bible Readings for July 25-31

Luke 18

Why is it at times easier for us to act more like the Pharisee than the tax collector when it comes to reflecting on our faith?

In what ways might we hinder people from coming to faith—people who most need God or perhaps are most like him?

What are some things that are impossible for you, but happen because of the power of God?

How have you asked God to show you mercy today?

Luke 19

How has your faith in God or at least your desire to know him better caused you to do some things that might be seen as shocking or socially unacceptable?

How do you think you would have reacted to Jesus as he was walking into Jerusalem? How do you think the people seeing this event knew to react?

In what ways is your response to unbelieving people similar to Jesus’ reaction to Jerusalem? In what ways can you respond like this more?

Luke 20

If someone came into our time of worship and began disrupting things, how do you think we would react? Why would you say this is the case? Would you say our response is similar or different than the response of the Jewish leaders?

If Jesus offers salvation to people, why do they spend so much time trying to trap him in “wrong doings” or even kill him?

Luke 21

Why do we tie the importance of gifts to the amount given instead of the value of the gift?

In what ways have you had to demonstrate endurance in your faith, doing so even while facing hardships and persecution?

Why do you think people show more concern about when Jesus is returning than they do about the fact that he is returning?

Luke 22

Why were the Jewish leaders so afraid of the crowds?

How do you think your participation in the Lord’s Supper would be different if you had been in the upper room with him during the Last Supper? How can we remember this event more when we take the Lord’s Supper?

Knowing what you know about Jesus’ disciples, are you surprised that immediately following the Lord’s Supper they are arguing about who is the greatest? Why or why not? In what ways are we also (inappropriately) focused on how great we are?

Bible Readings for July 18-24

Luke 13

What is the meaning of the parable of the barren fig tree? Why is bearing fruit so important?

A repeated theme throughout the gospels is the Pharisees placing their rules about the Sabbath over helping people in need. Why was this such a difficult concept for them to grasp?

Do we prefer the narrow or wide door when it comes to faith? How does your life demonstrate your answer to this question?

Luke 14

In what ways can we choose the “lower places” in our daily interaction with others, similar to Jesus’ story of the wedding feast?

What criteria might someone use to assume they deserved a higher place at the table of God’s banquet? How do Jesus’ words refocus our priorities and what should these new priorities be when it comes to choosing our place?

In what ways have churches cheapened the cost of discipleship? Why do you think this is the case? How can we correct this thinking?

Luke 15

How important are lost things, especially in a disposable society like ours?

When you compare these three “lost things” stories, what stands out as unique or different in each one? How does these differences help you understand the point of this chapter better?

Which character do you most resonate with in the parable of the lost son and why?

Luke 16

Do you agree that you cannot serve two masters—God and money? How have you seen Jesus’ statement to be true in your life?

What things does the world exalt that can be considered an “abomination before God?” How can we be sure we are not holding these things valuable in our own lives and the life of the church?

What does the story about the rich man and Lazarus teach us about our love of money?

Luke 17

What strategies can you use to prevent leading others into sin?

Why is it so difficult for us to imagine forgiving someone more than once or twice, much less seven times or more? What ideas or values must be changed in order for us to be able to do this?

How can you be sure to express your thanksgiving for God’s healing today?

Bible Readings for July 11-17

Luke 8

Why do you think Luke made a point to tell his readers about the women who were following Jesus?

Do you think people today would be confused by or prefer the message of Jesus to be taught in parables? Why might parables make his message easier to understand? Why might parables confuse the message?

How well are you shining your light?

What storms have you experienced that challenged your faith, but it turned out to be that faith proved to be the only way you got through that challenge?

Luke 9

How willing do you think you would have been to go on a journey with no staff, bag, money, etc.? Would it matter if it was a journey for Jesus? Why or why not?

How do you confess every day that Jesus is the “Christ of God?”

In what ways is Jesus’ call to be a disciple—deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him—different than what churches sometimes portray as what it takes to follow Jesus? How can we make sure this is the message we are preaching?

Luke 10

Pray today for the Lord to send out workers into the harvest … and be prepared for him to send you.

Why would our names being written in heaven be something to rejoice more than seeing Satan fall like lightning from heaven?

Are you a neighbor to those in need of mercy? How can you be more neighborly?

Luke 11

Spend time today praying the Lord’s prayer.

Do you trust that God wants to give you gifts that exceed the good gifts given by earthly fathers? Why or why not?

Would you agree with Jesus that the ones who are blessed are the ones who hear the word of God and do it? How have you seen this to be true in your own life?

Luke 12

Someone once sang: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I would argue that what doesn’t kill you still hurts! Is Jesus thinking right when he says do not fear those who can kill the body? Why or why not?

How are you working to acknowledge Jesus before others?

How have your focus on the Kingdom of God reduced anxiety in your life?

Bible Readings for July 4-10

Luke 3

In what ways does John the Baptist point to Jesus, deflecting praise and attention away from himself? Do you think John might have ever wanted at least some of that attention for himself? Why is it so difficult to play to role John did?

Do you think the people who came to see John in the wilderness actually did what he told them to do? Why or why not?

What stands out to you about Luke’s genealogy of Jesus, especially when you compare it to the one found in Matthew 1?

Luke 4

What are ways you would sat you have been tempted? How have your experiences compared to Jesus’ temptation?

How well are you prepared to answer challenges you face with scripture, similar to Jesus’ response during his temptation? What can you do to be more prepared to do this?

Describe the Kingdom of God? How does Jesus’ description of the Kingdom compare to yours? How do you think you would have responded to his message about the kingdom he was kicking off?

Luke 5

What does it take for you to recognize the power of God … and your own sinfulness? Do you think you would accept that power or be afraid of it? Why?

Would you touch someone with leprosy? How accepting are you of individuals who need healing, even if you are not required to touch them?

How faithful are you to friends in need?

Luke 6

What does it mean that Jesus is Lord of the harvest?

In what ways do we hold to spiritual rules more than we seek spiritual healing for those who need it? How can we change this?

How well do you love your enemies? Why is this such a challenging teaching? How can we be a people others describe as people who love their neighbors?

Luke 7

What does the reaction of the Jews towards the centurion say about his character … and theirs? Why would you say this is the case and why is it important for Luke’s story?

Jesus often shows compassion to those who need it most. What other examples in the gospels can you think of where Jesus helped someone, similar to his care for the widow who lost her son?

Why might John the Baptist have been confused about whether Jesus was really the “one who is to come?”

Bible Readings for June 27 – July 3

Galatians 4

How does the knowledge that you are God’s son or daughter and his heir affect how you view your relationship with him?

What is the difference between knowing God and being known by God?

Is there anyone you care so much for their spiritual well-being that watching their progress is like being in the “anguish of childbirth” until Christ is formed in them? Is this an unusual way to describe this process? Why or why not?

Galatians 5

What does it mean for you to be free in Christ?

What are things that hinder you from obeying the truth? What are ways you can get rid of those things in your life?

As you view the list of the flesh and the list of the Spirit, what stands out to you? Which of these two lists best describe you? Why?

Galatians 6

Describe a time when you were able to restore someone who was in sin? Who in your life needs similar restoration today?

Are you weary of doing good? Do you know someone who is? How can you encourage someone so they can continue to do good, but do it in a refreshed way?

In what things do you boast?

Luke 1

In what ways have you found Luke’s gospel to be an “orderly account”? How has this order been helpful for you as you work to strengthen your faith?

How do you think you would have reacted had you been Zechariah and an angel appeared to you?

How can you say to God today: “Let it be according to your word”?

Read the songs of Mary and/or Zechariah as a time of praise today.

Luke 2

How does the birth of Jesus compare to how one might imagine the coming of the savior of the world?

How has the birth of Jesus been “good news of great joy” for you and the people you know?

How are Jesus’ actions as a boy consistent with what you might expect from him? How are they different than what you would have expected?

Luke 14.25-35 – October 30, 2020

Luke 14.25–35

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
 (Luke 14.25–35, NIV)

The cost of discipleship is large … it is your entire life.

Thought Questions:

Why do we react against the idea that we should “hate our own life?” Does Jesus really want us to hate ourselves? If not, what is he meaning here?

How would the people hearing Jesus’ message reacted to the idea of “picking up a cross?”

How are you being salt in the world in which you live?

Luke 2.51 – August 14, 2020

Luke 2:51

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.  (Luke 2:51 , NIV)

“Mary treasured in her heart that Jesus was in his Father’s house and that he went back to Nazareth and was obedient. This has always reminded me as a parent to treasure my boy’s good choices and good behavior in my heart so on the days that maybe that wasn’t the case I could remember they were still growing in wisdom and stature.”

Thought Questions:

In what ways might it have been difficult for Jesus to be obedient to his parents? Do you think Jesus ever thought about doing something that might have gotten him placed in “timeout?”

In what ways are you intentional about begin obedient to your parents? To God?

If you are a parent, you have opportunity to nurture children to be obedient in some special ways. How have you attempted to do this?

Luke 6.36 – August 6, 2020

Luke 6:36

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Luke 6:36 , NIV)

“Because it shows that you should be kind even if someone is mean.”

Thought Questions:

How has God shown mercy to you and others you know?

Why is showing mercy to someone such a challenge, at times? Why do you think the world advocates more a system of getting back at one another than one that seeks mercy?

What are ways you can show mercy to others today?

Luke 9.18-20 – July 15, 2020

Luke 9:18–20

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
 (Luke 9:18–20 , NIV)

Peter’s confession of Jesus as God’s Messiah was what we might call a game-changer. This one who was sent by God was the one to redeem the world … even if the way he went about doing so did not look exactly like his followers expected.

Thought Questions:

If Jesus was going to ask the same question he did in verse 18 to us today, how would we answer: Who do the crowds say that I am?

Why do you think people had such a difficult time understanding who Jesus was? Why do they still have a difficult time doing so today?

What does it mean for Jesus to be God’s Messiah?

Luke 5.17-26 – July 12, 2020

Luke 5:17–26

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”  
(Luke 5:17–26 , NIV)

“I have always loved this story. What wonderful friends this man had. Friends that had faith that Jesus would heal him. Friends that went into action. It reminds me sometimes when our friends don’t have the strength to carry themselves we need to carry them in prayer and sometimes physically carry them. And hopefully we have friends that will do this for us.”

Thought Questions:

Think about a time when you were committed to do anything–anything–for a friend. What caused you to be focused on doing whatever was necessary for this friend, regardless the cost to you?

What could this paralyzed man offer his friends?

What remarkable things have you see God do today?