1. From Livid to Loving - John | 07/02/23
1. Read Acts 4:13. If people were to describe your life before and after meeting Jesus (like here with John), what would they say?
2. John had followed John the Baptist before he followed Jesus. Looking back, how do you see God pursued you before you started your relationship with Him?
3. Read Luke 5:6-11. Notice what John’s response was to recognizing Jesus was God. Why do you think Jesus used fishing to reveal Himself to John?
a) What did John sacrifice personally so he could follow Jesus?
5. Skim through John’s teaching in 1 John. What are the repeated words and themes you see?
a) What does 1 John 3:16-24 tell you about the way the Spirit transformed John’s life in these areas: how he used his resources; what he understood love was like; where his peace came from/how he treated his “inner critic”?
b) How can we apply this to our own lives?
6. Consider John being exiled to the island of Patmos, probably for 18 months, because he was telling others about Jesus (Revelation 1:9). What must it have been like for him to see Jesus now glorified (Revelation 1:10-18)?
7. John went from being a “Son of Thunder” to the Apostle of Love. How does knowing Jesus impact our personality?
a). How can we allow the Spirit to shape us, instead of using our personality as an excuse?
2. From Cowardly to Courageous - Peter | 07/09/23
1. Read Luke 5:8-11. How has God’s holiness affected you?
a) How did Jesus’ words, “Don’t be afraid”, change Peter’s initial response?
b) What does it look like to balance reverence and intimacy in our relationship with God?
2. Read Matthew 26:13-18. Why is it so important to have a right understanding of who God is, if we are to partner with God in building His church?
a) What are some examples of how and why this foundational truth gets compromised in your life and in the church?
3. Peter had a strong faith. However, although he declared that he would never deny Jesus, he ended up denying him three times. Read Matthew 26:69-75. What things have the tendency to keep you from living out what you believe?
4. Read Acts 4:8-13. What changed in Peter after he was empowered by the Spirit?
5. Where do you need to be more courageous in your faith, or bold in sharing, or in associating with Jesus?
a) How does Peter’s life story encourage you?
3. New Hope for an Old Pessimist - Thomas | 07/16/23
1. We often think of having doubts about Jesus as bad, but how are doubts actually often necessary and good?
2. The disciples had an earthly view of the Messiah, which led to their expectations of what Jesus would do politically to restore the nation of Israel’s prosperity. But Jesus came to bring a spiritual kingdom and spiritual prosperity. How can we slip into the same error?
a) How do things like Christian Nationalism or the Prosperity Gospel play on our expectations of God?
3. How have your subconscious expectations of God made you disappointed in God?
a) Where did those expectations come from?
b) What did your unanswered prayers and doubts actually teach you?
4. Read John 11:16. Thomas was prepared to die for Jesus. How can the degree we're prepared to sacrifice for God, or the level of our dedication/service, sometimes become a negotiation with Him?
5. Read John 18:1-12. How did Jesus’ lack of fight when He was arrested disillusion the disciples?
a) How do you relate to the feeling of disillusionment with God?
6. Read John 20:20-29. Thomas missed out on the initial experience of seeing the resurrected Jesus. How do we sometimes long for the spiritual experiences other have, and what can that do to our faith?
7. Thomas stuck with the disciples through his disappointment. What struggle is God asking you to keep believing through, or to share with others, or to walk through alongside someone else with, right now?
a) Pray for each others struggles as they share, without trying to fix the situation.
4. Quick to Follow, Slow to Believe - Philip | 07/23/23
1. Philip was a very practical person. What unique challenges might practical people have following an unpredictable and miraculous God?
2. Read John 1:43-46. Philip was so awestruck with Jesus that he invited others around him to “Come and see” Him. What would you say to someone who says their faith is a private/personal thing?
a) Who are you inviting to know more about Jesus?
3. Read Matthew 8:21-22. If this was Philip, what is Jesus telling him about his priorities?
a) What does it look like for us to prioritize God in our decision making: financially? Career-wise? In our families? Schedules?
4. Read John 6:5-7. How does human reasoning, and our tendency to take control, and problem solve with what we can see or what we already have, limit our experience of God’s power?
a) How have you experienced God’s power, and what preempted it in terms of your inability, loss of control or expectancy of God?
5. What does it look like to balance planning/reasoning and faith? How do we “leave room for the extraordinary”?
6. Read John 12:20-22. Philip was not concerned about station or recognition. How could you change your “I have to’s” in serving Jesus, to “I get to’s”?
7. Read John 14:6-11. Why was Philip not convinced Jesus was God, by the things he had already seen Jesus do?
a) What stops you from fully and consistently believing He is God in your daily life?
6. Raw Ambition to Real Authority - James | 08/13/23
1. Read Mark 10:35-45. James was part of the group of three who were closest to Christ. He witnessed Jesus raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, and the Transfiguration. How might witnessing the miraculous power of Jesus have fueled James' natural ambition?
a) How was it also an experience that had the potential to change James?
2. Read Luke 9:51-56. What prompted James’ actions?
a) How can our passion for Jesus sometimes get in the way of God’s work?
3. Read Romans 10:1-3. Talk about how our zeal is actually a subtle way of us attempting to establish our own righteousness?
5. Reread Mark 10:35-45. Where does Jesus say real authority and greatness comes from?
a) How can you cultivate a spirit of humility, and a heart that loves serving others?
b) What is it that gets in the way of you living this way?
c) How can you step towards living as a servant of others more?
8. Demoted Yet Devoted - Andrew | 09/03/23
1. What is it like to live in someone’s shadow? Where do our insecurities or feelings of inferiority/inadequacy come from?
2. Read John 1:32-42. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. What had Andrew learned from John?
a) What experiences in your past prepared you to accept Jesus as Lord?
3. The first thing Andrew did was to bring his brother Simon to meet Jesus. Who have you brought/are you trying to bring to Jesus?
4. Andrew is always introduced as the brother of Simon Peter, despite the fact he followed Jesus first. Peter goes on to be a powerful preacher and leader while Andrew is almost anonymous, yet we never read that Andrew was envious or upset at his brother. How can we learn to be content living in the background?
5. Read John 12:20-22. Despite his unacknowledged role Andrew continued to bring people to Christ. In what other ways can a quietly faithful life be powerful and effective?
a). How we can make sure we are living by the Spirit?
9. A Skeptic Who Believed - Nathanael | 09/10/23
1. When have you been skeptical about God? Why?
2. How does experiencing God for ourselves overcome our doubts?
a) Knowing that, why might Nathanael have been skeptical of Jesus?
4. Read John 1:49. What convinced Nathanael that Jesus the Rabbi was the King of Israel?
a) What has God done in your life that made you believe?
a) How was this also an invitation for Nathanael?
6. What doubt do you regularly have to wrestle with?
a) How would your life change if you fully believed Jesus is who He says He is?
b) How can you see God is taking you on a journey of learning to trust Him more?
10. A Crook For Christ - Matthew | 09/17/23
1. A scarcity mindset is driven by the fear of losing what we have, or by not having enough. Reflect on this thought. How do you recognize it in your own life?
2. Read Matthew 9:9-13. What kind of person was Matthew before he met Jesus - his lifestyle and reputation amongst his own people?
3. As you reflect on what things drive you, how does knowing Jesus challenge the security you find in those things?
4. Unpack the full implications of what Jesus meant when He said: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice."
a) How did this relate to the “sinners” and Pharisees Jesus was talking about?
b) Which group do you naturally relate to most, and how do Jesus’ words speak to you today?
5. Matthew became a generous man because he understood Jesus was God, and that He could be fully trusted. Read Romans 12:1-2. How does fully understanding who Jesus is, free you to trust God and live generously (not only financially)?
6. Questions to process:
◦ What values do I still have that are not the values of Jesus?
◦ Which of my values are robbing me of my freedom in Christ?
◦ What am I holding onto that I need to let go of?
11. A Murderer Who Became a Missionary For Christ - Paul | 09/24/23
1. Why is it easy to live for God and champion good issues, instead of—or at the expense of—living with God?
2. Paul came from a paternal line of Pharisees, and he was trained under the best Jewish Rabbi of the day in Jerusalem. He was born in Tarsus, and so was given Roman citizenship. Read Philippians 3:4-6. If you read this as a resume, what kind of person was he?
a) Where do you see the seeds of religious pride in his upbringing?
3. Paul was zealous in his obedience of the Law. How can zeal be a problem for us?
a) Is repentance/life change an essential part of following Jesus?
5. Paul was called as soon as he was converted (verses 15-16, 22). Read Matthew 28:18-20. What is the calling on your life as a disciple of Jesus?
a) Break down verses 19-20—what does God's call look like in your life?
b) If this is our mission as Christ followers, what religious/good things can distract us from fulfilling this calling?
7. Questions to process:
◦ Am I living with Jesus?
◦ Am I open to Jesus showing me my blind spots that keep me from living a missional life?
◦ Am I willing to let go of my life and live a missional life?