The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard

The Announcement – God’s Voice Heard
Luke 1:26-38 (Week Two of Advent)

  1. God manifested His work in Mary so that Jesus Christ would be manifested to the World. (Luke 1:26-29)
  2. Mary encountered a crisis of fact and faith that only the truth of Jesus could resolve. (Luke 1:34)
  3. The Holy Spirit made the Purpose of Christ reality. (Luke 1:35)
  4. The reality of Christ caused worshipful obedience (Luke 1:36-38)

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. When was an occasion that you received an unexpected honor?
  2. How do you tend to react when you receive unexpected good news?
  3. Who greeted Mary? Why? (Luke 1:26-28)
  4. How did Mary learn of her role in Jesus’ birth? (Luke 1:26-28)
  5. How did Mary feel when the angel appeared to her? (Luke 1:29-30)
  6. How did Gabriel describe the child that would be born to Mary? (Luke 1:31-33)
  7. What title would Jesus have? (Luke 1:32)
  8. What Old Testament personalities were part of Jesus’ royal line? (Luke 1:32-33)
  9. Why wasn’t Mary struck dumb by the angel as Zechariah was? (Luke 1:34)
  10. How did Mary’s response to the angel differ from Zechariah’s? (Luke 1:34, 38)
  11. Why did Gabriel mention Elizabeth’s pregnancy to Mary? (Luke 1:36-37)
  12. What kind of attitude was apparent in Mary’s response to the angel’s visit? (Luke 1:38)
  13. What did Mary’s final statement to Gabriel show about her relationship with God? (Luke 1:38)
  14. What do Mary’s responses to Gabriel tell us about the kind of people through whom God works?
  15. In what different ways do people respond to the story of Christ’s birth?
  16. What difference does it make whether or not a person believes that the child born to Mary was really the Son of God?
  17. How has the fact that “with God, nothing is impossible” taken root in your life?
  18. In what ways would you say Mary’s responses to Gabriel summarize what our relationship with God ought to be like?
  19. What “impossibilities” in your life do you want to thank God for this week?
  20. What can you do to maintain a servant’s attitude as you live from day to day?
  21. In what ways can you develop the kind of humble spirit that Mary had?

The Story – God’s Plan Revealed

December 3
The Story. God’s Plan Revealed
Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

  • The Story: from brokenness to redemption (Isaiah 9:1)
  • The Hope: divinely planned and forever assured (Isaiah 9:2)
  • The Person: a Light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What positive associations do you have with light?
  2. Although he had been preaching God’s judgment (particularly on the kingdom of Israel), what
    total reversal did Isaiah foresee in the future? (Isaiah 9:1)
  3. What contrasting images did Isaiah use to set the scene of his prophecy? (Isaiah 9:2)
  4. To what situations did Isaiah compare the joy that will be Israel’s? (Isaiah 9:3)
  5. What did Isaiah predict God would do for Israel, causing her to rejoice? (Isaiah 9:4-5)
  6. How does Isaiah describe the Ruler who will be provided by God for His people? (Isaiah 9:6-7)
  7. What attributes of God are apparent in this passage?
  8. How is God’s promise of the coming child an answer to His anger over our sin?
  9. How would you explain the Light that came into your darkness?
    Why might it be dangerous to downplay the seriousness of our situation whenever we encounter hardship?
  10. What specific injustice in your area of influence can you challenge in the name of God? How?
  11. What person do you know who is still “walking in darkness” for whom God would have you
    pray?

The Proper Confidence

THE PROPER CONFIDENCE
How Can You Be Certain Your Life Will Make an Impact?
Philippians 1:1-6
Impact Statement #9: I will make a difference.

Your Life Will Have a Lasting Impact as you…

  1. Engage your spheres of influence (Philippians 1:1-2)
  2. Consistently recognize the joy of serving Christ and others (Philippians 1:3-4)
  3. Depend upon God’s work in you and through you (Philippians 1:5-6) 

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What’s your usual way of saying hello to your friends?
  2. In your family, how important are greetings in affirming each other?
  3. Who was the author of the letter to the Philippians? (Philippians 1:1)
  4. How did Paul identify himself and his coworker? (Philippians 1:1)
  5. To whom did Paul address this letter? (Philippians 1:1)
  6. How did Paul greet the Philippians? (Philippians 1:2)
  7. When Paul thought about the Philippians, what did he do? (Philippians 1:3)
  8. How were the Philippians in partnership with Paul? (Philippians 1:4-5)
  9. What was Paul confident about? (Philippians 1:6)
  10. Why is it a good practice to begin a letter with a Christian blessing?
  11. What godly encouragement can you offer other Christians?
  12. Paul complimented the church at Philippi; what positive things can you say about our congregation?
  13. How is Paul’s prayer for the Philippians a good prayer for you to copy?
  14. What prayer of thanksgiving can you offer for our church today?
  15. How can you encourage someone in his or her Christian journey this week?
  16. Which Christian brother or sister would be heartened to receive a letter from you this week?

Spectator or Participant?

CHURCH NOT A BURDEN. Spectator or Participant?
I Corinthians 12:12-20
Impact Point #8: I Will avoid religious traps in the church.

5 Facts about You and the Church

  1. Each member of the Body of Christ is made so by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
  2. The significance of each individual part of the church exists in the formation of the whole (1 Corinthians 12:14).
  3. All individual parts of the Body of Christ are necessary for the proper functioning of the church (1 Corinthians 12:15-16).
  4. The uniqueness of the parts of the body are interdependent (1 Corinthians 12:17).
  5. God’s perfect design of the body is the oneness and diversity (1 Corinthians 12:18-20).

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. When have you felt insignificant in an organization?
  2. What functions in the church do you feel are most important? Why?
  3. In what way are Christians like a human body? (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
  4. Why should outward appearances or status not matter to us? (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  5. What unifies all Christians? (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  6. What makes Christians unified and dependent on one another? (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  7. What lessons are there in seeing the church as a human body? (1 Corinthians 12:14-17)
  8. Who arranged the parts of the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 12:18)
  9. Why shouldn’t all Christians perform the same function? (1 Corinthians 12:19)
  10. Why should members of the body of Christ not say to each other, “I don’t need you”? (1 Corinthians 12:21-22)
  11. How might you compare your place in the body of Christ to a part of the human body?
  12. How well do you interact with other members in the body of Christ?
  13. When have you felt like an important or insignificant part of the body?
  14. What part do you serve in the body of Christ?
  15. How are you able to help other Christians?
  16. What has God appointed you to be in the body of Christ?
  17. Why do people often assume that certain duties in the church are more important?
  18. How can you honor the contributions of others in your church?
  19. How can you treat the “weaker” members of your fellowship as indispensable?
  20. What is one way you can show concern and love for another member of your church?
  21. What would be the best way to use your unique abilities in the body of Christ this year?

Church is Not a Burden Part 1

CHURCH NOT A BURDEN:
The Burnout of Activity or the Joy of Belonging?
Ephesians 2:8-10

Impact Point: I will Not Be a Church Dropout!

(6 Truths that move you from Burnout to Joyfully Belonging to the Church)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
  2. What is the means of salvation? (Ephesians 2:8)
  3. Where does salvation come from? (Ephesians 2:8)
  4. Why can no one boast in his own salvation? (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  5. How is the believer God’s work of art? (Ephesians 2:10)
  6. What is the purpose of God’s workmanship? (Ephesians 2:10)
  7. What were you like before you became a Christian?
  8. When did you receive the gift of new life?
  9. How would you describe God’s grace to you?
  10. Why hasn’t anyone deserved God’s grace, mercy, or riches?
  11. How do you see God’s creative workmanship operating in your life?
  12. With whom can you share the news of God’s mercy? How?
  13. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, what good work for the kingdom of God can you do this week?

A Lifestyle of Generosity

TREASURES OF THE HEART: A Lifestyle of Generosity.
Matthew 6:19-21
Impact Point: I will give generously

Jesus Teaches a Kingdom Principle . . .

  1. The principle takes the form of a command (Matthew 6:19-20)
    1. do not store treasures on earth
    2. do store treasures in Heaven
  2. The command is built upon a divine value (Matthew 6:19-20)
    1. the value of treasures on earth
    2. the value of treasures in heaven
  3. The value determines man’s spiritual condition (Matthew 6:21-24)
    1. the heart (Matthew 6:21)
    2. the mind (Matthew 6:22-23)
    3. the will (Matthew 6:24)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only three possessions with you, what would you choose and why?
  2. What valuable possessions do you have that cannot be replaced?
  3. What are some things you’d never give up, no matter how much money you were offered for them?
  4. Where did Jesus urge His followers not to “store up treasures”? Why? (Matthew 6:19)
  5. Why did Jesus discourage stockpiling things? (Matthew 6:19)
  6. What can happen to a person’s material possessions? (Matthew 6:19)
  7. Where did Jesus encourage us to invest our wealth? Why? (Matthew 6:20)
  8. Why is heaven a better place to “bank” than earth? (Matthew 6:20)
  9. What does the location of a person’s treasure say about that person? (Matthew 6:21)
  10. What is described as the “lamp of the body”? How is this so? (Matthew 6:22)
  11. What is the result of “good eyes”? (Matthew 6:22)
  12. When will people’s lives be full of darkness? (Matthew 6:23)
  13. What did Jesus say about serving two masters? (Matthew 6:24)
  14. Why did Jesus say we cannot serve two masters? (Matthew 6:24)
  15. What two masters did Jesus mention in this context? Why? (Matthew 6:24)
  16. How have you felt whenever you have lost a valued possession?
  17. How can we “store up . . . treasures in heaven”?
  18. How can we determine where our treasure is (and thus where our hearts are)?
  19. What sort of things do you think about most?
  20. Where does your mind naturally gravitate to in those moments just before you go to bed?
  21. How clear is your spiritual vision right now?
  22. What masters most often fight for your allegiance?
  23. In what ways do you serve money?
  24. In what ways can you master your money?
  25. How could you make an investment in eternity today?
  26. What committed Christian friends could help you evaluate your use of money in the next month?

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. In what manner were the seventy-two followers sent out? (Luke 10:1)
  2. According to Jesus, why were His followers to pray for more workers? (Luke 10:2)
  3. To what did Jesus liken His followers? (Luke 10:3)
  4. What instructions did Jesus give the seventy-two concerning their departure? (Luke 10:4)
  5. What were Jesus’ followers to do about accommodations? (Luke 10:5-8)
  6. What were the seventy-two sent out to do? (Luke 10:9)
  7. What was life like for the seventy-two disciples?
  8. Which of the jobs done by the seventy-two do we see in action today?
  9. What instructions has Jesus given you?
  10. When can you set aside time to pray regularly to learn your place among those whom God has sent out?
  11. Whom else can you encourage in our church or fellowship group to join you in prayer and service?

The Impact of the Small Gathering

For Further Discussion:

  1. What possessions do you have that you enjoy sharing with others?
  2. Which of your belongings would you not want to share with anyone else? Why?
  3. How would you describe your life-style: self-centered, family-centered, or others-centered?
  4. What were the activities of the early church? (Acts 2:42)
  5. How did the new believers approach what they did? (Acts 2:42)
  6. What unusual deeds did the apostles do? (Acts 2:43)
  7. How did people respond to what was going on? (Acts 2:43)
  8. What life-style did the early believers adopt? (Acts 2:44-45)
  9. Why might the early Christians have had “everything in common”? (Acts 2:44)
  10. How were the goods distributed among the early believers? (Acts 2:45)
  11. How often did the believers meet? (Acts 2:46)
  12. Where did the early believers meet? (Acts 2:46)
  13. How did the early Christians meet together? (Acts 2:46-47)
  14. What did the Christians do when they met together in homes? (Acts 2:46-47)
  15. What was the spirit of the believers in all they did? (Acts 2:46-47)
  16. What was the growth of the early church like? (Acts 2:47)
  17. What were the early believers actually doing when they “broke bread”?
  18. How do the activities of the early church compare with the activities of our church?
  19. How do you think our church should be more like the early church?
  20. In what ways should our church be different from the early church? Why?
  21. The early church was joyful, victorious, and full of praise. How would you describe the spirit of our church?
  22. When do you most enjoy spending time with other believers?
  23. Would you describe our church as self-centered or others-centered?
  24. How is the celebration of Communion meaningful to you?
  25. What “miracles” have you witnessed in our church fellowship?
  26. In what ways do you see our church growing?
  27. What can you do to help our church be more like the early church?
  28. How can your daily prayers help bring about spiritual renewal in our church fellowship?

Going to Church God’s Way Part 1

How to Make a Lasting Impact – Part Two
GOING TO CHURCH GOD’S WAY: The Impact of the Large Gathering
Psalm 100:1-5 / John 4:21-26

Impact Point: “I WILL WORSHIP WITH OTHERS.”

1. How do we gather? Psalm 100:1-5

(7 imperatives that guide our approach to worship)

  1. Shout
  2. Serve
  3. Come
  4. Know
  5. Enter
  6. Give

2. Why do we gather? John 4:21-26

(Jesus gives two reasons why we worship.)

To worship in Spirit . . .
To Worship in Truth . . .

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. How did Jesus say people would worship God? (John 4:21-23)
  2. What kind of worshipers does God seek? (John 4:23)
  3. What did Jesus say about God? (John 4:24)
  4. Who did Jesus say He was? (John 4:25-26)
  5. What groups of people do you feel uncomfortable being around? Why?
  6. How might a person feel put off by another person’s background, nationality, or race?
  7. How can prejudice affect a Christian’s witness?
  8. How have you responded to Jesus’ invitation to receive His living water?
  9. How is Jesus’ gift of salvation different from what the world offers?
  10. When was the last time you were in a debate on when or how to best worship?
  11. Describe a time when you worshiped in ignorance? (John 4:22)
  12. Of all the types of people God might seek, why do you think that the Father seeks worshipers?
  13. How is the world’s need for salvation and eternal life like thirst?
  14. In what other ways besides thirst might you describe eternal life?
  15. How can we worship God in spirit and in truth?
  16. When was the last time that God spoke so clearly and you still did not get it? (John 4:26)