09/23/18 Study Questions

Building Prayer and Fasting into Our Lives

Read 'God's Training Plan' in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24.  

1. Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan marathon runner who broke the world record this past week said: "Only the disciplined ones are free in life."  What do you think he meant by this?

    a) How does this apply to a follower of Jesus?

2. Discipline requires a plan in order to get to your goal.  What does it look like for you to train seriously in the ways of following Jesus?

3. What are some of the implications of having the Holy Spirit in you as an internal training guide/coach?

    a) What happens to us when we reject His voice and quench God's Spirit?

    b) Why do we quench the Holy Spirit?

    c) How can we test prophecy - the voice of the Spirit?  (see 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)

    d) Micah said that "listening to the Spirit is like recognizing that any little thing could be from God".  What does that mean, and what could you do to actively listen to God this week in the little things of life?

4. Read James 1:2-4.  How does God use difficulty to train us?

    a) Micah said "God is gracious enough to allow you to face your limitations".  How can hitting your limits be a gift?

    b) Reflect on some of the difficult times that have actually saved you in some way. 

5. How does giving thanks in every situation change our beliefs about life?  Share what's going on in your life right now that you can be thankful for.

6. In verse 23 sanctification is the end goal of our 'training'.  How have you been open to God healing your spirit, soul and body in order to reflect Him to others?

7. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.  Evaluate your relationship with God.  Are you training or trying?  If you're training, are you just training to finish or are you training to win?  

09/16/18 Study Questions

Opening Up to God

1. Think about when you were first saved.  Share about what your initial love for God spurred you to do for God.

    a) Has this changed over time?  If so, how and why?  If not, why not?

    b) Confidence in a relationship can lead to complacency and taking each other for granted.  What are the symptoms of someone who is complacent about their relationship with God and takes Him for granted?

2. Read Luke 19:1-7.  Zacchaeus intentionally went to a 'spot' where he could best see and meet Jesus.  What do you intentionally do to create 'spots' in your daily/weekly routine where you can meet God and hear from Him?

    a) Why is fasting such an effective 'spot' for intentionally meeting with God?

3. The 'Marshmallow Test' is all about self-control and delayed gratification.  What's your 'Marshmallow'?

    a) Behavioral Scientists describe delayed gratification as the 'strategic allocation of attention'.  How does fasting help us 'strategically allocate our attention' onto God?

    b) Why do prayer and fasting need to be linked together?

    c) Why is denying our physical appetites so significant?

    d) How does fasting change our view of ourselves, and of God?

4. 'We overestimate what we can achieve by trying and we underestimate what we can achieve by training'.  Share your experience of the reality of this statement in your life.

    a) What's the difference between 'trying harder' and 'training' as a follower of Jesus?

5. How does fasting "change the narrative" of our life?

    a) How can fasting help us overcome our natural expectations of ourselves?

6. Look at the insert from Sunday's bulletin.  Share how you will be fasting next week (Sept 23-29).  What's your marshmallow?

09/09/18 Study Questions

Listening to God

1. Share with each other something that God has said to you this week.

2. Do you agree that God is always speaking?  Give examples from the Bible that back your answer up.

3. Think about the way you pray.  Would you consider it a two-way conversation? - would God?  Why/why not?

4. What would it take for you to let God 'lead the conversation'?

5. What do you make of the statement "God always speaks the truth in love, but we just want the love"?

6. Imagine a relationship where one person always talks but never listens.  Why does our relationship with God so easily become like that?

7. Expectancy involves us clearing space and time to be still and wait on God.  What does this look like?  And what would it look like for you if you were serious about listening to God?

8. Look at the bulletin insert with 7 Tests to help us discern God's voice.  What points ('tests') stood out to you?  How can you apply them the next time you sense God speaking to you?

09/02/18 Study Questions

Talking With God

1. Think about how you have typically perceived prayer and approached prayer.  On a scale with 'religious ritual' on one side and 'unguarded intimate conversation' on the other side, where would you put yourself, and why?

2. Read Revelation 3:20.  What kind of God would describe prayer as having a meal with someone?  What does this tell you God is like?

    a) How does this compare to your perception of God and to prayer?

    b) What difference could understanding prayer this way make to the way you approach God and speak with Him?

3. What is frustrating to you about prayer?

4. Paul Miller (author of 'A Praying Life') wrote: "Praying exposes how preoccupied we are and uncovers our doubts.  It's easier on our faith not to pray."  Why is it easier sometimes not to pray?

5. Read Micah 6:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  How do these verses relate to prayer and what do they teach us about how God wants us to talk with Him?

6. Read Matthew 15:21-28.  What do we learn about prayer from this story?

    a) How have you experienced silence from God like this woman did?

    b) How have you responded to God's silence?  Why?

    c) What have you learned about God and about praying from that experience?

7. What does it look like to pray in faith?

    a) What are you praying about now?  How can you pray for it in faith this week?