July 12 Discussion Questions – Flourishing: Life in the Spirit – Goodness

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Read Matthew 5-7. Where do you find yourself most personally in this text? Where are you most encouraged? What challenges you most deeply in the text?

As we regather, where do you sense a desire for deeper connection to others and to God? As we re-center, where do you sense drift? How might our Faith Family help you anchor in the center of Christ’s life and love?

The fruit of the Spirit includes the “goodness” of Christ. In your own words, describe the quality of goodness Jesus possesses? How did Jesus express goodness during His earthly ministry? How do you experience His goodness being expressed toward you today?

How has Jesus already made you “good”? When and where do you most doubt that you are “good”? What is one area where you desire to grow in His goodness?

Spend a few moments reflecting on the life of the disciples after hearing the Sermon on the Mount. What do you think changed in them after hearing this truth? How would their life look differently, how would they begin to love differently? As you reflect on the words of Jesus, what’s one way you sense an invitation to change and grow? Trust Him to work in that space giving Him praise in advance for His faithfulness to you.

June 28 Discussion Questions – Flourishing: Life in the Spirit – Patience

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Read 1 Corinthians 13 incarnationally. How do you see God expressing His love toward you today? 

What’s the difference between the world’s definition of patience and Christ like patience? 

Describe one way you are currently experiencing God’s love as patient? 

Biblical patience is best defined as, “love untiring.” Note three places in Scripture that you see God’s “love untiring.”

Read Romans 2.4. Why is God patient with us? In your own words, describe this verse being lived out through your story.

Consider the life and ministry of Jesus. What three words would you use to describe the pace of His ministry? 

“Jesus was busy but never rushed.” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? How so?

What qualities or expressions of love can you do when you are rushed or in a hurry? What qualities or expressions of love can you give when you are taking your time?

Read Mark 9.14-27. How do you see as “fully man” and “fully God” in this text?

When and where have you prayed, “I believe. Help me with my unbelief.” Who has joined you in that space? How has God ministered to you there? 

Read 2 Peter 3.8-10, 15. In your own words, describe the truth of this text.

How do you sense God’s patience as salvation?

With a family member, friend, or co-work talk about your responses to the following: 

  • Where and when do you sense your love tiring? 
  • What takes the life out of you?
  • What gives you life?
  • How do you sense God’s untiring love at work in your world right now? 

June 21 Discussion Questions – Flourishing: Life in the Spirit – Peace

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Read Galatians 5 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in this chapter? 

As you consider the fruit of the Spirit, how do you see God at work in you conforming you to the image and character of Christ? 

Where and when most recently have you sensed the deep peace of God? 

Read John 14.25-27. What is the peace Jesus is talking about here? What is the peace He gives? 

How is His peace vastly different from the peace of this world? 

Read Philippians 4.7. In your own words, note how you would describe this truth to a non-Christian friend. 

Why and how did Jesus make peace for you? 

In what ways do you see yourself as a peacemaker? What’s the difference between being a peacemaker and a peacekeeper? Which is more difficult? Why would Jesus call us “blessed” for living out that which is most difficult?

How desperate is our world for the peace of Christ? As a peacemaker, what is one step you’ve taken to bring peace to our unpeaceful world? 

Read, and reflect on the words of Mark Labberton: “There’s no place for an easy kind of common agreement. All naive expectations about some kind of easily achieved shalom (peace) have to be in some way to be reordered, shattered, left in disarray until sufficient agreement and readiness together has been created in order to necessarily come to a new future.”

Read Isaiah 58. What’s at the heart of this text? 

What does “fasting” mean here? Why would Isaiah press the care and love of others as a higher call? 

How might God be calling you to literally participate in Isaiah 58.6-12? 

Read and reflect on the words of Alec Motyer. “To loose the chains of injustice/’fetters of wickedness’ points to the need to labour for the abolition of every way in which wrong social structures, or wrongdoers in society, destroy or diminish the due liberty of others. To untie the cords of the yoke refers to the need to eliminate every way in which people are treated like animals.” Alec Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah.

Is God a conditional God? It appears there is a condition implied here. What do you make of this tension? 

What role does obedience play in the life of a follower of Christ? 

How are you challenged and encouraged by Jesus’ words as recorded in 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.”

June 14 Discussion Questions – Flourishing: Life in the Spirit – Joy

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Begin by reading three passages from John’s Gospel. John 10.10; 15.11; 17.13. Then 1 John 1.1-4 and answer the following questions:

What does Jesus say about joy? What is His joy? What does it mean to you to know Jesus prays for you to live in His joy?

When you think about the attributes of the Trinity in the heavenly realm, what comes to mind?

C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” Dallas Willard wrote, “Undoubtedly God is the most joyous being in the universe.” How do these two phrases encourage you? How do they shift your perception of God?

Lewis Smedes said, “To miss out on joy is to miss out on the reason for your existence.” You exist to know joy, to live in joy, to experience the joy of the Trinity. In what ways are you currently experiencing this kind of joy?

Read Galatians 5.22-26. What is the Fruit of the Spirit? What’s the purpose of the fruit? We learned on Sunday “The Fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus Christ produced by the Spirit of Christ in the life of every follower of Christ.” What one specific way do you sense the character of Christ being formed in you?

Three questions were asked in the message on Sunday. Share your answer for each.

  • Describe the joy filled life of Jesus?
  • When are you most joy filled?
  • Have you ever had a pervasive season of joylessness?

Read Psalm 133, and Philippians 2.1-4. How important is unity in the heavenly realm? How important is the unity of His Church to you? How are you fostering a spirit of unity in our Faith Family?

Read, reflect and respond to the truth shared by Eugene Peterson. “Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence. It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience life in Christ; it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience.” Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Read Nehemiah 8.1-10 and answer the following questions.

Describe the power of God’s Word on display in this text. Where do you sense the Holy Spirit at work in the text? How did the people respond to the Spirit’s conviction? Is it surprising to you that Nehemiah encouraged the people not to sorrow, but to celebrate? Nehemiah says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” How have you experienced joy as God’s strength in you? Where do you need His joy to give you strength today?

Read Acts 9. What similarities do you see between the text and what has happened or is happening in your life today?

Describe a season when you felt “scales fall from your eyes.” Read and reflect on the words of Andy Westmoreland, President of Samford University.

Andy Westmoreland President at Samford University said, “Something like scales” are falling from the eyes of millions of Americans as we confront the fact that many of us who are white have done far too little to oppose racism. We have taken comfort in the knowledge that our own views are not typically “racist” and we support the concept of racial equality. If we have learned anything in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and tensions throughout our country, it is that whatever we have done—or believe we have done—to overcome racism, we have not done enough.” How are you relentlessly and redemptively acting on behalf of another?

Joy can be lost. The sin of King David led him into a season of joylessness. Read 2 Samuel 12, and then Psalm 51. Describe a season of joylessness you may have experienced. How did that season conclude? What role did conviction or confession play in you entering into a new season of life.

Joy is the serious business of heaven. How might you take a step in living in His joy today?

June 7 Discussion Questions – Flourishing: Life in the Spirit – Love

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Read 1 Corinthians 13. What part of this text speaks most personally to you? 

Specifically, how is the kind of love described in Scripture different from the love of this world? 

Read Jesus words as recorded in Mark 12.28-31, John 13.34-35, John 15.9-17, Matthew 5.43-48, John 14.15-21 and answer the following questions: 

  • Who is your neighbor?
  • Who are your enemies?
  • How does Jesus teach us to love both? 

In your own words, describe how you “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and will all your strength.” 

Jesus says “as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” Describe the love of the Father for the Son. 

In response to the answer above, how then does Jesus love you?

What’s the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of each believer? How do you sense the Spirit at work in you?

Read Philippians 2.5-8. In what ways does this text evoke worship and give you hope?

Jesus said to Peter, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16.18. What does this statement mean for the Church today? What does it mean for Sanctuary? 

Read Galatians 5.1, 13-26. What’s the primary difference between sowing to the flesh and sowing to the Spirit? Describe a time when you sowed to the flesh? What was the outcome of that season? Conversely, describe a time when you sowed to the Spirit? What was the outcome of that season? 

Read 1 Corinthians 12.24-26. How do you see a part of our body suffering? How might you “suffer with those who are suffering?” 

Read and reflect on the words of Timothy Tennent, “Biblical love is not like the wavering flood of emotion that overtakes humans in some romantic surge; the love that God defines is a resolute disposition that acts on behalf of another, and does so relentlessly and redemptively. “

In response to the challenge in Sunday’s message, how are you taking one relentless and redemptive step on behalf of another? 

In our world today, how do you sense “hell prevailing?”

What’s the job of the Church as it relates to hell? How do we “put hell out of business?” 

How might your faith be expressed through love today? 

Read, reflect and then pray the Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.