THIS WEEKS SERMON

TRANSFORMED

By Pain (PT 8)

Mar 2-3, 2019

Discussion Questions

INTRODUCE: What is the worst physical pain you have ever experienced in your life?

READ: Phil 3:10-11, James 1:2-4

WATCH:  Tranformed: By Pain (Part 8)

PRAYERBegin the time by praying together.

DISCUSS:

  1. We learn in Phil. 3:10-11 that we are called to “know the power of his resurrection and participate in his sufferings”. Where have you recently seen God’s power in your life?
  2. We are also called to participate in his sufferings. What are some of your underlying fears when it comes to enduring and walking through painful seasons?
  3. When is a time in your life that pain was occasional and when have you have endured a longer season of consistent pain or hardship?
  4. What questions have you personally wrestled with during harder, painful seasons? What have you learned in these seasons?
  5. What do we learn from James 1:2-4 about the purpose of pain, suffering, and hardship?
  6. Share an experience where you saw your relationship with God grow exponentially because of walking through a hard experience.
  7. “There is a necessary step between being fragile and becoming resilient called anti-fragile”. What is an example of an “anti-fragile” experience or trial that brought about resilience in a particular area of your own life?
  8. What experience(s) are you walking through right now that would be considered anti-fragile? What are some of the hardest aspects of this necessary step that brings about resilience?
  9. “None of your pain, the good and the bad, is going to go to waste….it all becomes beautiful in its time.” How have you recently seen God take something so dark and painful and restore it to something beautiful?
  10. What do you hear God saying to you in the midst of the hard, painful areas of your life?

PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

-What are some themes you have heard others share about being transformed by pain? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?

-How can we pray specifically for you this week?

FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

Look up the words “test” and “testing” in Scripture. What do you observe? What do we learn about God’s purpose for testing in the believer’s life? What are we called to do in the midst of testing? How did Jesus walk through a season of testing in the desert (Matt. 4:1-11) After studying, reflect on how this shifts your own perspective on the trials you are currently walking through. What is God calling you to? What promises from God do you need to remember in the midst of a season of testing? What lies from Satan are you hearing that you need to run away from?

Flip through the Gospel of Luke and find 7-10 stories of how Jesus meets others in the midst of their suffering. What do we learn about the way Jesus calls us to come alongside others in the midst of their own suffering? How does this picture of Jesus need to shift your view of the way God is walking with you in the midst of your own current hardships?

The following article gives two specific ways you can grow in “participation with Jesus’ sufferings”: https://renovare.org/articles/embracing-suffering  What is difficult about coming alongside another person that is currently suffering? What areas of your life is God seeking to refine?

TRANSFORMED

By Community (PT 7)

February 23-24, 2019

Discussion Questions

INTRODUCE: Growing up, did you tend to have 1-2 close friends or did you have large groups of friends? How has this remained the same and how has this changed over the years?

READ: John 13:34-35

WATCH:  Tranformed: By Community (Part 7)

PRAYERBegin the time by praying together.

DISCUSS:

  1. Jesus made it impossible to be a Christian by yourself” – How do we see this in Scripture and in the way God has created human beings?
  2. What is Jesus’ purpose and design for community in regard to our transformation? How are we transformed as a result of community?
  3. How are you doing in creating and developing “layers of love” (confidant, family, team, tribe) in your current relationships? Which area is the easiest for you? Which area is the hardest?
  4. How have you experienced loneliness in your life as a result of lacking a layer of love?
  5. What kind of community did Jesus create? How does this differ from the kind of community that we prefer or feel comfortable being a part of?
  6. How does our understanding of the purpose of community need to shift in order to align with the type of community Jesus created?
  7. This week, what does it look like for you to create or develop a layer of love that is currently lacking in your own life?
  8. This week, what is a specific place God is calling you to be a “minister of loneliness”?

PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

-What are some themes you have heard others share about being transformed through community? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?

-How can we pray specifically for you this week?

FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

List some themes we find in regard to community in the following passages. What do you learn about the purpose of community? How does this shift our understanding of community and its impact on our transformation?

    • 1 Corinthians 1:10
    • Colossians 3:13
    • Galatians 6:2
    • Proverbs 17:17
    • Proverbs 27:17
    • Romans 12
    • Hebrews 10:24-25
    • Acts 2:42-47

    David expressed his loneliness in Ps 25:16. Read the entire Psalm to see the context of that loneliness and how David prayed. Have you felt as David did? Have you prayed in part or as a whole as he did? In Ps 68:6 David says that “God makes a home for the lonely”. What does that mean? What are its implications for our lives?

    Take some time to reflect by journaling about the layers of love that God has placed in your life in the areas of: Tribe, Team, Family, Confidant

    • How have you seen God provide these different layers of community over the course of your life?
    • What areas do you wish would be different?
    • In the past, how have you created community in these different areas?
    • Where is God be calling you to step into something new in order to create and develop these layers of community for you and for those around you?
    • What does being a “minister of loneliness” look like according to Scripture? (ref. Deut 31:6, Ps 27, Is 49:15-16, Is 54:10, Rom 8:35-39, Is 41:10)

    There is often a connection of time engaged with technology and the level of loneliness we feel. Take a day this week to turn off as much technology as possible and spend that time resting, connecting with others, and/or spending time with God. What was hardest for you in taking a break from technology? What fears does it bring up for you? What did you notice or observe about the effect technology has on your thoughts, attitude, and outlook?

    TRANSFORMED

    By Grace (PT 6)

    February 16-17, 2019

    Discussion Questions

    INTRODUCE: How would you explain the difference between mercy and grace?

    READ: Luke 19:1-7

    WATCH:  Tranformed: By Grace (Part 6)

    PRAYERBegin the time by praying together.

    DISCUSS:

    1. What do we learn about Zacchaeus from Luke 19:1-7 and from the history of people like tax collectors in the 1st century?
    2. Who are the people in our society that we discount, leave out, or assume Jesus could never save them? Who are the people that we might believe Jesus can save but we would never spend time with them in the way Jesus did over a meal at Zacchaeus’ house?
    3. How was grace first explained to you? How would you explain grace to someone wondering about a relationship with God?
    4. What is the difference between participating in a religion and being drawn into a relationship with God?
    5. In understanding grace, how have you played the “what-if” game in your relationship with God?
    6. Using the illustration of the women at the well, how do we continue to grow in our understanding of grace and move beyond playing the “what-if” game? What would be the next step for you?
    7. How does this scenario with the father, son, and friend help you to understand the difference between justice, mercy, and grace? How does this change or further develop your understanding of grace?
    8. In what areas of your life are you striving and lack rest in your relationship with God? What would it look like for you to allow God to sustain you in that area of striving?
    9. Read 2 Corinthians 12:8. What is your thorn and sacrament in your life? How have you seen God’s grace be sufficient for that thorn/sacrament?
    10. What would change for you this week if you believed that God is sufficient and everything you need? How would God’s grace begin to transform you?

    PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

    • What are some themes you have heard others share about being transformed through grace? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?
    • How can we pray specifically for you this week?

    FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

    Look up 5-7 verses about mercy. Now look up 5-7 verses about grace. What is similar? What is different about these two words?

    The transforming power of grace in our lives means that we can find rest and peace and no longer have to continue striving to earn grace. There are several spiritual disciplines that can help set a pace and rhythm in our lives that reminds us we are God’s child, not because of what we have done, but because of who He says we are in Him. Pick 1-2 of the following spiritual disciplines to learn about and then choose one to implement over the next few weeks. What do you learn about who God is? What do you learn about who you are because of being a child of God?

    • Spiritual Discipline of Sabbath
    • Spiritual Discipline of Sleep
    • Spiritual Discipline of Rest
    • Spiritual Discipline of Slowing

    “Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?…Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” –  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

    • How was grace costly when Jesus was on the cross?
    • What has extending grace to others cost you in your own life?
    • In what areas is God asking you to extend grace to others? What will it cost you?

     

    TRANSFORMED

    By Prayer (PT 5)

    February 9-10, 2019

    Discussion Questions

    INTRODUCE: What was your understanding of prayer as a child?

    READ: Luke 4:42-44; Luke 5:15-16 

    WATCH:  Tranformed: By Prayer (Part 5)

    PRAYERBegin the time by praying together.

    DISCUSS:

    1. What do we learn about Jesus’ passion, teaching, and practice of prayer from Scripture?
    2. Is there a physical place that you tend to go to when you pray? Is there a person or place that creates a longing in you to grow in prayer?
    3. What doubts and questions have you wrestled with in your own prayer life?
    4. How has prayer changed over the course of your life? When was a life of prayer easier for you? When has it been more difficult?
    5. In the face of tragedy, do you tend to lean toward prayer or toward doing justice? What would change in your response to tragedy and injustice if you embodied “acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God?”
    6. How have you been transformed because of prayer?
    7. Using the analogy of a transformer – In what areas of your life has prayer slowed your down? In what areas has prayer sped you up or redirected you a different direction?
    8. “You must want what your wants lead to”. If you want to be transformed through prayer, what desires, thoughts, and actions must you have in order to put yourself in a position to be transformed in this way?
    9. We see Jesus seeking out lonely, solitary places in order to be transformed through prayer. What is scary, difficult, or hard about you seeking similar places with God? What is exciting about it?
    10. What do you sense Jesus saying or calling you to this week so that you might be transformed through prayer?

    PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

    • What are some themes you have heard others share about being transformed through prayer? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?
    • How can we pray specifically for you this week?

    FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

    →  Read the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) in 3-4 different versions of the Bible (ESV, NIV, NLT, HCSB, Message, etc). What do you observe in these different versions? What is the same/different? What do we learn about prayer from this passage? What is powerful about this prayer?

    Wondering about how to grow in your prayer life? These resources contain some helpful, challenging training to help you grow in this area of your life:

    1. Learning to pray: https://christianuniversity.org/lessons/learning-to-pray/?course=courses/spiritual-life-basics
    2. Discernment and Prayer: https://christianuniversity.org/lessons/true-spirituality-knowing-and-loving-god/?course=courses/foundations-of-spiritual-formation-ii-the-disciplines-of-life

    Scripture has so much to say about prayer that it can be overwhelming. What about starting with Lord’s Prayer as a way to teach and grow you in the transformative power of prayer? Follow this link for a different way to pray the Lord’s prayer: https://renovare.org/articles/the-lords-prayer-as-a-transformative-pattern

    TRANSFORMED

    By His Word (PT 4)

    Jan 26-27, 2019

    Discussion Questions

    INTRODUCE: How old were you when you received your first Bible? Who gave it to you and what was the significance?

    READ: Romans 12:1-2 

    WATCH & DISCUSS: Transformed: By His Word (Part 4)

    PRAYERBegin the time by praying together.

    1. How were the sacrifices made as atonement for sin in the Old Testament similar to the “living sacrifice” we are called to make as believers (Romans 12:1-2)? How is it different?
    2. What shifts for us in our lifestyle, relationships, calling, etc., when we see that God has called us to live lives of sacrifice that are “holy and pleasing to God”?
    3. What areas of your life have been the most challenging to offer as a living sacrifice to God?
    4. Our natural bent and desire is to conform to and look like the rest of the world. What changes in your need for and engagement of Scripture when you understand that we are naturally “conformed to the pattern of this world” instead of naturally transformed to have the mind of God?
    5. What areas of your life are the hardest or most confusing to allow God’s Word to speak into and inform?
    6. “I was transformed….I am being transformed…I shall be transformed…” Share some of your story about how God initially transformed your heart.
    7. Share an example of how the transformation of your heart is now affecting your mind and your thinking.
    8. How have you experienced the “cleansing effect” of Scripture within your mind? How has Scripture “fed your mind”?
    9. Even when we understand how important Scripture is to the renewal of our minds, it can be difficult to practically make this happen. What challenges and hurdles have you had in reading, meditating, and feasting on Scripture?
    10. What successes have you had? What are different ways you read, meditate, and engage with Scripture so that your mind is transformed?

    PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

    → What are some themes you have heard others share about allowing God to transform their minds? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?

    → How can we pray specifically for you this week?

    FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

    Dig into the Old Testament and make a list of what was required in order to offer a sacrifice. What were the different kinds of sacrifices made? What was the process? What kind of “costs” would be associated with making an animal sacrifice (property, money, time, travel, etc.)? How does this shift your understanding of a making a “living sacrifice” today?

    You have a story to share! One of the best ways to share your faith with others is by sharing your story. Write out your story by drawing, journaling, or using a timeline to remember how God moved you from “I was transformed, I am being transformed, I shall be transformed…”

    • I was transformed…
      • What did life look like before you had a relationship with God?
      • How did you view God during this time? What did you believe about Him? What did you believe about how he saw and valued you?
      • What were some specific people, events, or resources that God used to transform your heart so that you began to desire something different?
    • I am being transformed…
      • What were the significant events, relationships, or conversations that happened that moved you to a place of recognizing your need for your mind, heart, and soul to be given to God?
      • How have your mind and your thoughts changed as a result of your heart being transformed?
      • What has changed in your life as a result of your all of your life being given to God that He might transform you?
    • I shall be transformed…
      • What trials and difficulties are you most ready to see God fully redeem?
      • What are you most excited for when it comes to meeting and seeing God face to face?
      • How do the promises of God’s healing and redeeming work change the way you live right now?

    TRANSFORMED

    By His Mercy (PT 3)

    Jan 19-20, 2019

    Discussion Questions

    INTRODUCE: Share a childhood experience when you did not have to face a consequence that you deserved because you received mercy.

    READ: Jonah 3:1-6; Jonah 4:1-4

    WATCH & DISCUSS: Transformed by His Mercy Recap Video (Part 3)

    1. How does God show mercy to both the Ninevites and Jonah throughout the story?
    2. What is the difference we see in Jonah’s repentance vs. the Ninevites repentance?
    3. How would you describe the difference between change that comes from fear and transformation that comes from mercy? When has God called you to change and when has He called you to transformation?
    4. Share an experience about when it was difficult for you to understand how God could show mercy to another person.
    5. How did the “domino” illustration reaffirm or shift your understanding of God’s mercy?
    6. What is the definition given of mercy in Jonah 4:1-4? Why does Jonah actually run away from Nineveh?
    7. Which of these characteristics given for mercy is easier for you to show others? Which is harder?
    8. “There is a difference between knowing about God’s mercy and embracing God’s mercy”. What is the difference? What are steps toward actually embracing God’s mercy in your own life?
    9. What does it look like for you to become an expert in “mercy” and to love that God is merciful? How would that play out in your relationships, workplace, hobbies, etc?
    10. How has God been merciful to you? What kind of transformation have you seen as a result?
    11. Where do you need another chance? What in your life needs transformation? Where is God calling you to show mercy to others?

    PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

    → What are some themes you have heard others share about God’s mercy? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?

    → How can we pray specifically for you this week?

    FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

    We see God’s mercy all throughout David’s life (1 Samuel 16 – 2 Samuel 12). What are five ways we see God show David mercy and five ways we see David extend mercy to others around him?

    Make a list describing all that you can find out about the Ninevites using Scripture and outside sources. How does the make their desire to repent even more significant?

    As we are transformed into God’s image, our heart begins to reflect His heart. The things that break His heart, break our heart. The things that bring Him joy, bring us joy. The things that arouse His anger, arouse our anger. We see that Jonah was angry that the Lord was merciful. As we strive to bear the image of God and reflect his heart, use Scripture to write out a list of the things we see in Scripture that arouse God’s anger. Then take some time to reflect on whether these things are similar for you.

    TRANSFORMED

    By His Presence (PT 2)

    Jan 12-13, 2019

    Discussion Questions

    INTRODUCE: If you could spend a day with anyone because you simply love to be with them, who would that person be?

    READ: Ex: 33:7-16

    WATCH & DISCUSS: Transformed by His Presence Recap Video (Part 2)

    1. How would you explain the difference between change and transformation in regards to our relationship with God?
    2. How do we see that Moses was transformed by being in God’s presence in Exodus 34:29-35?
    3. Share a story about the difference God’s presence has made in your life?
    4. Why do you think Job’s questions disappeared as he basked in the presence of God? How have you experienced something similar?
    5. When is a time in your life that you have struggled to sense or feel the presence of God?
    6. What are ways that we hide from the presence of God similar to Adam and Eve in the Garden? Why do we hide or run away from Him?
    7. What does it look like to “reacquire our appetite” for the presence of God?
    8. Would you be more likely to be the person in the Tent of Meeting like Joshua or an onlooker? Why?
    9. What are some of your fears of being in the presence of God? What excites you about being in the presence of God?
    10. “Jesus is in the tent waiting for you and for me” – This week, what would change if you took one step in trusting this promise?

    PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

    → What are some themes you have heard others share about how we can be transformed by Jesus presence? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?

    → How can we pray for you this week?

    FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

    We see that the presence of God is experienced differently throughout Scripture. Look at the various accounts in the stories below. How does it change and grow over time?

      1. The presence of God with Adam and Eve (Gen 1-2) 
      2. Covenant with Abraham to be a Family of God (Genesis 15)
      3. Ark of Covenant and Tabernacle (Ex 25-26)
      4. God’s presence in the Temple (1 Kings 6)
      5. Jesus’ physical presence (Luke 2, Luke 7:21, John 1, etc.)
      6. The Gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31, Acts 2)
    1. List the similarities and differences to Moses’ encounter with the presence of God (Ex. 33:17-23)  and Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13)?
    1. We all experience the presence of God in different ways. While there are many ways we can experience His presence, here are some of the eight most common including an online test to help you to better understand the ways you might connect with God the best: https://groupleaders.org/spiritual-pathways-assessment/
      1. Did you agree with the findings?
      2. How might this help shape the steps you take to experiencing the presence of God more fully?

    TRANSFORMED

    Intro (PT 1)

    Jan 5-6, 2019

    Discussion Questions

    INTRODUCE: What is one of the biggest changes you have made in your life?

    READ: Matthew 17:1-2, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2, Philippians 3:21-22

    WATCH & DISCUSS: Transformed: Introduction Recap Video (Part 1)

    1. What are 1-2 areas of your life that you desire to change most often?
    2. Why are we often resistant to others trying to change us?  How does this impact the way we experience God “changing” us?
    3. Transformation involves our hearts, minds, and physical bodies. Share an example from your own story of how God transformed your heart. How did that impact your mind and your physical body as well?
    4. How does your transformation impact where you live, work, serve, etc?
    5. How has your life story been impacted by someone that has been transformed by God? What did they do or say that made such an impact?
    6. What is the difference between change and transformation?
    7. What difference does it make that God is looking to transform us?
    8. How has God restored the brokenness and suffering of your past to impact who you are today and the things that you care about? How does this impact your perspective on current areas of your life that are hard, broken, and difficult?
    9. “What is transformation? AS IT IS…When heaven and earth meet”. What is significant about these three words when it comes to transformation?
    10. What is so important about giving up our need to change ourselves? What areas of your life do you strive to change on your own?
    11. This week, what would it look like for you to take one step toward opening your hands and allowing God to begin to transform your heart, mind, and body (including all of the pieces from your past) so that you might be able to get a “headstart” on heaven here on earth?

    PRAY: Take some time to summarize what you have heard your group share and how we can pray for one another.

    • What are some themes you have heard others share about being transformed by God in their own lives? How does that lead us to praise Him? What are some needs and concerns that were shared?
    • How can we pray specifically for you this week?

    FOR FURTHER STUDY: The following is not meant for large group discussion but can be done as an individual study to grow in your understanding of Scripture and the way it transforms our lives.

    Look up all the verses in Scripture that use the word “change”. Now look up all the verses that use the word transformation or transfiguration. What is similar? What is different about these two words in Scripture?

    The end result of our transformation should be that heaven might be experienced here on earth. What are some of the characteristics of heaven that we see in Scripture? How did Jesus practically demonstrate these characteristics when he was physically on earth? What does it look like for you to bring these here on earth AS IT IS in heaven in your own relationships, family, workplace, and community?

    One of the hardest aspects of change, is that it always involves grieving the loss of something –  even when the change is positive. Think of the top 2-3 areas that God is calling you to allow his transformation to occur. What are some of the things you might “lose” as a result (ex: success, money, power, relationships, security, etc.)? What does it look like to grieve the loss of those relationships/things in a healthy way?