Walking in Deliverance (Psalm 18:37-50)

Psalm 18:37-50
Discussion Questions:
  • Read together Psalm 18:37-50.
  • Why does God answer some prayers and does not answer others?
  • Read together 1 Peter 5:6-7. If I cast my burdens upon the Lord, does that mean I won’t be shaken by the events of life?
  • Look closely at Psalm 18:41. Why would God refuse to answer someone that is crying to Him for help? What could be the reason(s) God does not answer my prayers?
  • What does it mean to you to praise God?
  • Read together the entire chapter of John 9.
    • How does the man born blind respond to Jesus?
    • How does the world respond to the man born blind?
    • How does the world respond to Jesus?
    • How does Jesus respond to the man born blind?
    • How does Jesus respond to the world?
  • Share with one another prayer requests.
    • How is God working in your life?
    • Are you engaging in personal prayer and study time?
    • Take a few minutes to lift one another up in prayer and commit to praying for each other this week.

I Will Praise You in this Storm (Psalm 18:17-36)

Psalm 18:17-36
Discussion Questions:
  • Read together Psalm 18:17-36.
  • Why do you feel like God allows Christians to go through various trials?
    • Read James 1:2-8.
    • What does the Bible say is the reason Christians go through trials?
  • In the sermon it was stated that we must come to the “end of ourselves.” What does that mean to you to have to come to the end of yourself in order to fully trust God?
  • When you encounter trials, do you view them as God testing you or the enemy tempting you? What is the difference?
  • Many times our struggles are with other people. When you struggle with other people, how do you respond?
    • Read 1 Peter5:1-9.
    • What is the message to elders, pastors, and leaders in this passage (verses 1-4)?
    • What is the message to the congregation in this passage (verse 5)?
    • What is the message to all people in any interaction with each other (verses 5-9)?
  • We must be aware of the multiple components of our struggles. Each struggle has a physical component, an emotional component, and a spiritual component.
    • What physical battles are you currently fighting?
    • What emotional battles are you currently fighting?
    • What spiritual battles are you currently fighting?
  • How do groups such as this one help us to fight our battles?
    • Read Hebrews 5:13-14 and Hebrews 10:24-25.
    • How does the Bible tell us to train for battle?
    • What is the purpose of us assembling together?
  • Share prayer requests with each other. Spend some time praying for each other and encouraging one another.

The God We Serve (Psalm 18:1-16)

Psalm 18:1-16
Discussion Questions:
  • Read together Psalm 18:1-16.
  • Discuss together the details of David’s life. What do you think this Psalm meant to David given his history?
  • Jesus is our rock and our fortress. What does that mean to you? How is Jesus a rock or a fortress in your life?
  • Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-13 together. We said during the sermon that Jesus is our strength. How was this true in Paul’s life given his weaknesses?
  • Read Ephesians 6:10-20 together. When you think about the armor of God, what do you think about?
  • Discuss each element of the armor of God together. How do we find fulfillment in Christ in each of these elements?
  • Why is Jesus worthy of your praise?
  • Share with one another prayer requests. How is God working in your life? What is God asking you to do now that you are hesitant about? Take a few minutes to lift one another up in prayer and commit to praying for each other this week.

The Path to Forgiveness (Psalm 51)

Psalm 51
Discussion Questions:
  • When you hear the name “David” in the context of the Bible, what stories come to mind?

  • David was revered by the Hebrew people as their greatest king. Why do you think God gives us this story of great moral failure?

  • What do you think it means that David was a “man after God’s own heart”?

  • David first tried to cover his sin, just like Adam and Eve with the fig leaves in the garden. Why is it our first inclination to try to cover it by ourselves?

  • If God knows everything, why is confession important?

  • What does it mean to have “a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart”?

  • If salvation is free, why do we have to accept it?

  • Why does my relationship with God matter to my community?

  • In celebration, share with each other some of the ways God’s redemption has changed your life. 

The Blessed Man

Psalm 1:1-6
Discussion Questions:
  • Read the entire chapter of Psalm 1 with the reflection of it being written about Christ.
  • What is illuminated differently in reading it that way versus reading it the way we have the last two weeks (as David, as us)? 
  • Read Psalm 14:1-3. Why do you think Scripture says the fool says there is no God?
  • Jesus lived surrounded with wicked men yet never walked in their counsel. What is it that gave Him that ability? What is it that gives us that ability?
  • At 12 years old, Jesus was teaching God’s Word in the temple. What is it that holds us back from sharing God’s Word with those around us?
  • Read Matthew 5:2-16. This is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and is known as the beatitudes. What do each of these “blessed” statements have in common? Hint: think about the viewpoint of looking inward to ourselves versus looking outward to others.
  • Why do you feel like Jesus became chaff for us? After answering, read 2 Corinthians 5:21 together.  In view of that Scripture, what is the “why” answer?
  • Share with each other any prayer requests for the week. Ask yourself, how is Jesus leading me right now? What is it God is saying to me? What steps of faith is he asking me to take today?

Becoming a Man After God’s Heart

Psalm 1:1-6
Discussion Questions:
  • Read the entire chapter of Psalm 1 with the reflection of what it is saying to us today. 
  • Why do you feel it is so important for us as believers to walk in the counsel of the wise?
  • Think of someone in your life that challenges you to grow in your faith. What are the qualities about them that challenge you to grow? Are you taking advantage of that challenge to grow?
  • Think of someone in your life that you are challenging to grow in their faith. How are you intentionally mentoring them? In what areas can you improve?
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 2:8 together. Discuss Paul’s example of inviting others to take part in his life.
  • Do you delight in the Word of God? What do you need to do to develop a passion for God’s Word?
  • The sermon spoke of 6 benefits of delighting in God’s Word:
    1. stability and fruitfulness
    2. desire to do God’s Will
    3. help in distress or depression
    4. ability to stay grounded in the faith
    5. focus on God throughout the day
    6. sustainment in times of trial

      Which of these benefits have you experienced from delighting in God’s Word? Can you think of any benefits that need to be added to the list?

  • How has God been speaking to you this week? How is He working in your life? How did He speak to you through this week’s message and passages?
  • What is an area of growth you need to focus on that the group can be in prayer with you about? Are you willing to ask someone in the group to help you?

A Man After God’s Heart (Psalm 1:1-6)

Psalm 1:1-6
Discussion Questions:
  • Read the entire chapter of Psalm 1. Why is David writing this? Who do you think he is writing to? Who do you think he is writing about?
  • Why is the man blessed “who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked?”
  • How difficult is it to meditate on the things of God day and night? What do you think is meant by that phrase?
  • Verse 3 gives the analogy of a tree bearing fruit in its season. What is the comparison to life that David is trying to make? What do you take away from this analogy?
  • Chaff is the refuse that is mixed in with the good grain. Why does David use this analogy in describing the wicked?
  • Eventually a person’s true heart is found out. The wicked eventually are separated from the true believers. What is it that determines which category you fall into? What is it that does the separating?
  • Read through Psalm 1 again. First read it as David talking about himself. Next read it as David talking about you. Which category (blessed or wicked) would you place yourself in and why?

The Search for Contentment (Philippians 4:10-23)

Philippians 4:10-23
Discussion Questions:
  • Read the entire chapter of Philippians 4 together. What stands out to you in reading this chapter?
  • Paul states that he has learned how to be content. How is it that Paul learned this lesson? How should this change our view of struggles we have?
  • When Paul states that he learned contentment, what exactly is it that Paul learned? 
  • When we face struggles in our lives, how should we approach the search for contentment?
  • Read I Timothy 6:9-12. Compare and contrast the man that has the love of money and the man that lives righteous before God.
  • What is it that made Paul content despite the fact of his many struggles? (You may refer to Christ’s response in John 4:31-38)
  • Paul winds up encouraging those that were trying to encourage him. A couple of you share with the group a time where someone you were trying to encourage actually ended up encouraging you.
  • Security and contentment are basic human needs that are often neglected for material needs. Where do you find security and where do you find contentment? Don’t only give the Bible answers. Name areas where you are able to find security and contentment. How do they compare and contrast with spiritual sources of security and contentment?
  • Share prayer requests with each other for the coming week. How can you be an encourager to one another in your group this week? Will you commit to being that encourager this week?
  • Close by praying for our Grand Opening service next week. Who did God lay on your heart to invite to church with you next Sunday?

7 Ways You Can Care for Your Pastor

7 Ways You Can Care for Your Pastor

Below are my notes from the ordination service this morning. Take time to read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9 and discuss the 7 ways you can care for your pastor.

Other possible discussion questions:
• How have pastors been an encouragement to your spiritual growth over the years?
• What are some practical ways we can bless our pastors? (Aaron, Trey, & Darin)
• What ministry has God called you to that can take a task off of your pastors’ plate?
• Plan a small group project to do something special for your pastors (take them to dinner, put together a care basket, wash their car).
• Pray as a group for your pastors!

1. Pray for your Pastor and his family

  • The qualifications are high – 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:7-9

1 Timothy 3:1–7 (NKJV) 3 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Titus 1:7–9 (NKJV) 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
  • This is a high calling – to live above reproach – pray for the heart, character, and faithfulness of your pastor. They still need Grace to live day, by day.
  • Ask your pastors how you can be praying for them and their families.
  • Pray for them as they prepare for Sunday morning
  • Pray for them as you pray for your family…because if Satan can tear down a pastor, then he can tear down a church.
  • Don’t take “I’m fine” for an answer. Press in. Treat him as you would treat anyone else in the church, take off the masks/lower him from the pedestal, get to know his heart, and pray for your pastor.

2. Listen to his sermons

  • Take notes – God has called him to shepherd this flock. Work hard to come prepared to hear and apply what God speaks through him.

Philippians 4:9 (NKJV) 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

3. Fulfill YOUR ministry
  • Don’t expect your pastors to do everything. (Yes, even YOU can share your faith!)
  • Their job is to equip YOU for ministry. (Ephesians 4:11-12) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.
  • Before you ask your pastor to do something, ask yourself “Is this something God is calling me to do?”…and if so…do it! And seek your pastor’s encouragement and equipping. Don’t expect them to do something you are not at least willing to do.
4. Take care of him financially – 1 Timothy 5:17-18
  • Make sure his family is provided for.
  • As God allows, make sure this church is able to care for its ministers and worship leaders.

1 Timothy 5:17–18 (NKJV) 17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

5. Care for his wife
  • Don’t bother a pastor’s wife with unnecessary questions or complain about things to her. She is not the way to get to the pastor. Many times, she does not know everything about what is happening in the church. Pray for her and treat her as you would any woman in the church. She is not superwoman just because she is a pastor’s wife.
  • Shawn J. Wilhite said,“…have realistic expectations of her role. She’s exactly like you, a servant of Christ. She’s exactly like you, a wife trying to honor her husband. She’s exactly like you, a struggling and discouraged mother. She’s exactly like you, a woman trying to honor the Lord with her life. She’s exactly like you, an ordinary church member. Love and serve her, then, as you would others in the body.”
6. Hold him accountable, but do it Biblically
  • Pastors are not perfect. They need Biblical community just like the rest of us. Sometimes they may need encouragement and sometimes they need sharpening or even correction.
  • If he says something that doesn’t seem right…don’t go blasting him. Give him the benefit of the doubt, ask him directly if you heard him right. Treat him with the same respect Christ calls us to in Matthew 18:15-17 to go directly to a sinning brother before taking it to the church.
  • Paul even warns us in 1 Timothy 5:19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.
  • If you see something that is not right. Don’t gossip…go! Talk to the person, not about them.

7. Follow his leadership as he follows Christ

  • Christ is the head of the church

Colossians 1:18 (NKJV) 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Note: Avoid the trap of puffing up your pastor’s ego where they are tempted to think THEY are head of the church.
  • Pastors/Elders are undershepherds

1 Peter 5:1–4 (NKJV) 5 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

  • It brings joy to a pastor to hear of your growth and obedience to God’s word

Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV) 17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Acts 14:21–23 (NKJV)

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

1 Timothy 4:14 (NKJV)

14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

Standing Firm in the God of Peace (Philippians 4:1-9)

Philippians 4:1-9 – Standing Firm in the God of Peace

Small Group Discussion Questions:

  • Have 2-3 people share their answers to one of these questions: “What places do you go to find peace? When you think about a place where you can relax, rest, and be at peace, what place comes to mind?”
  • Do you think most people you know have peace in their lives? Why or why not?
  • Read Philippians 4:1-9. What commands does Paul give that can help us have peace?
  • Pastor Trey challenged us to “know the God of Peace so that you can know the peace of God”. What truths do you know about God that bring you peace?
  • Based on the example in Philippians 4:1-5, what can we do to have peace in our relationships?
  • What promise about peace does God give us in Philippians 4:6-7?
  • How does thinking about the right things affect our ability to have peace?
  • What is one way you can put into practice this week something God showed you from Philippians 4:1-9?
  • Who do you know that needs to hear what God showed you today from His Word?
  • Take time to share prayer requests and pray for one another.