Part 1: Why Does God Speak To Us? | 8/8/21
1. How have you experienced God speaking to you?
2. Read Psalm 46:10. God wants us to know Him, so how can you arrange or reorient your life to ensure you can hear Him speaking to you?
a) What is the primary obstacle you will need to overcome to do this?
3. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. God's guidance doesn’t always make sense. Why?
a) Think of a time when you’ve obeyed even though it didn’t make sense to you. What happened?
b) How did you experience God through your obedience?
4. How does thinking about God’s Word as His way of guiding you and revealing Himself to you—as opposed to a rule book, change the way you approach your time with God?
5. Think about the different ways we connect with God: music, contemplation, creation, activism, service, intellectual. Which one/s do you identify with most?
a) Plan one thing you can do this week to put yourself in a position to better listen to God.
Part 2: Is the Bible the Word of God? | 8/15/21
2. Are you 100% convinced of the Bible's authority and accuracy? Or is there some doubt that the Bible might be based on a true story?
3. Read this through the section titled, " The Capital City, Hattusa."
5. Does the scientific accuracy of the Bible impact your belief on the claim that the Bible is inerrant? Why or why not?
6. There are over 24,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament, which are used to translate to our Bible today. Between those manuscripts, there are 400 words in question, out of the 184,600 total words in the New Testament. Does the consistency of these manuscripts show that God protected these writings, or do you have doubts about man's involvement in forming scripture?
7. Are you 100% convinced of the Bible's authority and accuracy? If so, how does this impact your faith? If not, how are you going to respond?
Part 3: How Did We Get the Bible? | 8/22/21
1. How does the origin story of the Bible make a difference to your faith when you compare it with the origin stories of the world's religions?
2. Why is it important that the Bible can be examined and tested and shown to be true?
3. Read 2 Peter 3:15-16. What is the implication of Paul’s teaching being compared to the Old Testament scriptures?
a) Read 2 Timothy 3:16. How does the conclusion of the early church leaders regarding the Bible impact your attitude to it?
4. Consider how you treat the Bible. Do you give it the attention that something inspired by God deserves? Do you submit yourself to what it says because you trust it’s useful to teach you and necessary to realign you with what God wants in your life? Why/why not?
a) How do you want to adjust your life to respect the Bible as the actual and living Word of God?
Part 4: How Do We Know It's God Speaking and Not Just Me? | 8/29/21
1. How do we learn what God’s voice is like by reading the Bible? How does that help us discern in other situations whether it is God speaking to me, not just me?
2. What would you say to someone who says they feel like God is telling them it’s ok not to forgive someone who has hurt them?
3. Share with the group how you prepare to hear from God when you read the Bible. How has this practice developed over time for you?
4. What do you do to “test” if a thought you have is from God or just your own thoughts? Give examples of what that has looked like in your experience.
5. What difference does it make when we approach Scripture as the way we fold our lives into God’s story, as opposed to incorporating the Bible into our story?
Part 5: Hearing God Through Prayer, Fasting, and Mediation | 9/5/21
1. How comfortable are you with the idea of attuning your heart and mind and body to God?
2. Where does meditation fit into the Scripture? How do you use it in your personal practice?
3. Consider the difference between talking TO God and talking WITH God. How can you cultivate listening in prayer?
4. Consider the ways technology takes over your time? How can you take back your time?
5. Fasting is a chance for us to listen to God as He makes us aware of other things we feel dependent on. How have you experienced this in the past?
6. Time to practice! A) Be silent for 5 mins. Clear mental distractions as they come up. Still your mind. Be aware of God present with you. Jot down thoughts you have, words you sense, images you see, people who come to mind. B) Share what you heard or saw, and discern together what God might want you to do. C) spend the last 5 mins thanking God for who He is.
7. Discuss how you are going to engage in prayer and fasting next week. We appreciate the time you can give to praying and listening for Gods direction and word for us as His church this year. Please email or text any of the elders if you have a word to share from your time with God.
Part 6: God Speaks Through the Church | 9/12/21
1. Read John 9:5 and Matthew 5:14. What are the implications of Jesus saying, ‘I am the light of the world’, and then delegating that to His followers when He said, ’You are the light of the world’? What are the full implications of that phrase for followers of Jesus—the church?
2. Why do you think God chose to speak to the world through people—His church?
3. Read 1 Peter 4:10-11. What does ‘speaking the very words of God’ actually mean?
a) The thought of sinful fallible human beings speaking on behalf of a perfect infallible God raises an obvious tension. But how has God made it possible for us to do this successfully?
b) Identify and discuss some of the many terrible misrepresentations of God by His followers over the centuries. Why does the church often misrepresent God so badly?
a) How can resisting leadership make us deaf to God?
5. Read Colossians 3:6. Share an example of an occasion someone shared some wise advice with you that was obviously God speaking to you. How did you respond and how did it affect your life?
6. Read 1 Corinthians 14:3-5. Share examples of when God has spoken to you through a prophecy, a word of knowledge or an interpreted tongue. How did you know God was speaking to you?
7. Read Ephesians 3:10-11. ‘Speaking’ on God’s behalf is not always limited to verbal communication. What do these verses mean in terms of the church ‘speaking for God’?
a) What difference does it make to you to know that you—as part of the church—are not just being used by God to ‘speak to the world’ but also to the beings in the heavenly realms?
Part 7: God Speaks Through Unusual Things | 9/19/21
1. Read Job 33:14-33. “When we limit Gods ability to speak to us, we limit our ability to listen to God”. What does this mean in relation to what the passage in Job teaches us?
2. Read 1 John 4:1. The Bible is Gods primary way of speaking to us. How can we use the Bible to evaluate “unusual” ways God speaks to us?
3. Where does your discomfort with prophetic messages stem from? What are the pros and cons of your discomfort?
4. Read John 2:11. What is the true purpose of miracles? Does God heal for our benefit or his?
a) What are the implications of this teaching?
5. Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. What events in your life has God used to get your attention?
6. Read and meditate on Job 33:14-33. Spend time praying. If you feel you need to repent for limiting God or dismissing ways He has been trying to speak to you, do so. Spend time listening to God silently. Then share what God has said to you.
Part 8: Are We Listening? | 9/26/21
1. Read John 10:27. Why do we try to follow God without listening to Him?
2. Read Genesis 3:4-8. Listening to God's Voice leads to intimacy and being fully known and loved. Listening to Other's Voices leads to distance, insecurity and a struggle with our identity. Listening to Our Voice leads to shame and hiding from God. Which voice/s are the strongest in your life? Why?
3. Kim said, "Intimacy with God gets lost the moment we choose to engage with a voice that isn't God's voice". What does this mean practically, in real life?
a) How can we use this principle to identify the voice of God—and what isn't the voice of God?
4. Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. What does it mean to 'take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ'?
a) How does doing this—or not doing it—affect our ability to hear God?
5. The three main obstacles to hearing from God are: Deception (lies we believe about God), Distraction (things that make us too busy), and Distance (the way we get comfortable not hearing from God). Which of these is the biggest obstacle that stops you from hearing God? Why?
a) What do you need to do to overcome that obstacle and start hearing from God?
6. N.T. Wright says we need to "slow down our lives to catch up with God". In what specific ways could you slow your life down this week to hear God?