If I Only Had 1 Sermon Left--Our Father's Delight (Matthew 3:17-4:1)

1.    Read Matthew 3:13-15.  Why is John so confused?  Describe the difference between Jesus coming as role model and Jesus coming for a role reversal.

2.    Read Matthew 3:16-17.  What does heaven opening and the Holy Spirit coming as a dove communicate?

3.    Read Matthew 4:1.  Describe the significance of the word “then” and the fact that the Spirit was leading Jesus to be tested (right after the Spirit was poured out on Jesus in such a remarkable way).  How do you see this principle of blessing followed by a blitzkrieg assault of the enemy being played out in your journey?

4.    Describe the difference between a Navy Seal mentality and a Disneyland mentality in following Jesus.  Why does it matter?

5.    Pastor Stephen mentioned that the elder brother and the prodigal son are two voices that the enemy uses to drown out the voice of the Father’s love.  Which do you struggle with most and how do you turn up the volume on the Father’s love?



If I Only Had 2 Sermons Left--Union With Christ

1.   Describe your first reaction to Union with Christ and why.

2.  Read John 15:1-2.  Describe the role of the Gardner in pruning in your spiritual journey.

2.    Read John 15:3-4 and discuss this quote from Hudson Taylor, “When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our ONENESS with Jesus as I had never know it before.  The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the REST which full identification with Christ brings.”

3.    Read John 15:5 and discuss how abiding (remaining) has on your joy (and spiritual life) in light of this quote, “To let my loving Saviour work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace. ABIDING, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power; resting in the love of an almighty Saviour…Let us, then — not seek, not wait, not pursue — but now accept by faith the Saviour’s word — ‘Ye are the branches.’”

4.    Spurgeon said, “Affliction is the handle of the knife—affliction is the grindstone that sharpens up the Word of God…Affliction makes us ready to feel the Word, but the true pruner is the Word in the Hand of the Great Husbandman.” How has this been true in your life?



If I Only Had 3 Sermons Left: Spirit-Filled

1.    Pastor Stephen gave word pictures of being filled with the Spirit of the green gumby man and a roller coaster ride.  Which best describes you?  Why?

2.    Read Eph. 5:18.  Why do you think Paul contrasts getting drunk (and debauchery) with being filled with the Spirit?  What are the similarities and differences?

3.    Read Acts 7:55-60.  Pastor Stephen (not the one in the Bible) mentioned that being full of the Spirit means that you have visible evidence in your life that the Spirit is present?  Describe what visible evidence you see in Stephen’s life (the one in the Bible) and one piece of visible evidence of the Spirit in your life. 

4.    Read John 16:22 And Eph. 5:18.  Pastor Stephen pointed out that the verb tense (be filled) is present continuous, meaning that it is a command to be filled in an ongoing sense.  Describe the impact of this on your joy.

5.    Read Eph. 5:18 & Col. 3:16.  Notice that in Colossians Paul connects being filled with the Spirit and the Word of God.  How have you seen a connection between the word of God and the Spirit in your life?



If I Only Had 4 Sermons Left: Gospel Freedom

1.    Read John 8:32; John 14:6 and Galatians 5:1.  Describe your greatest obstacle to freedom.  How is Jesus the way and the truth to freedom over this obstacle?

2.    Read Galatians 5:2-5.  The Galatians, who considered themselves Christians, were putting forth a Jesus+circumcision theology.  Describe what you put on the other side of the plus sign (Jesus+) and the impact it has on you.

3.    Read Galatians 5:6.  How do you know if you have received the grace of God and if it has taken root in your life?

4.    Read Galatians 5:7-8.  How can you continue to run a good race in freedom, not hindered by other yokes of slavery?

5.    Read Galatians 5:9-12.  What is the offense of the cross?



Who is Jesus? A King Who Names You

1.     Read Isaiah 56:4 and Gen. 11;4.  Discuss why eunuchs struggled with building their own name and how you struggle with that?

2.     Read Isaiah 56:4-6 qnd Rev. 22:4.  Describe how receiving an everlasting name sets you free from building your own name.

3.     Read Acts 11;26 and Mt. 28:19.  What is the difference between being a cultural Christian and a disciple?

4.     Read Isaiah 56:7-8 and John 15:11.  Describe the results of receiving an everlasting name and how it has impacted you.



Who is Jesus? A King for those who Wait

1.    Read Isaiah 40:31.  Describe what you find difficult about waiting for the Lord.  How have you seen waiting benefit you and make your stronger?

2.    Read Isaiah 56:1.  Discuss how this calls us to an active waiting and how this differs from your normal idea of waiting.

3.    Read Isaiah 56:2.  Describe how a Sabbath rest is involved in Biblical waiting in your life.

4.    Read Isaiah 56:3 and Acts 8:32-35.  Discuss why eunuchs were excluded and how Jesus is the answer to the eunuch’s problem.



Christ Our Cornerstone

1.     Read Philippians 2:3-4.  How does this verse help as you (and others) face change?

2.     Read 1 Peter 2:4-6.  Discuss how the temple in Jerusalem was made in silence and how this affects you, as a living stone, being fitted into the spiritual household of the church.

3.     Read 1 Peter 2:4-6.  Discuss the significance of a cornerstone in the first century in Israel.  How does this help you as you think about Christ as the cornerstone of Bridge?

4.     Read 1 Cor. 10:3;  Read John 12:24.  How do these verses speak to the transition at Bridge and/or to change in general?



God's Love & Mercy Is For His Glory (Isaiah 43:1-7)

  1. Describe the dualistic worldview the ancient near east nations believed about their pagan gods? Can you relate to the Israelites in the way they were tempted to apply this worldview to their God? How? Share with your group.
  2. The same issues that are affecting the Israelites 2500 years ago, and is compelling Isaiah to write this book, is exactly the same heart issues we are believers face today. The story of the Israelites points to the common brokenness we share and our desperate need for a savior. Share the areas in which the Israelites failed, and what specifically Christ did to redeem it. What purpose did that redemption ultimately serve? How?
  3. God's love and mercy toward the Israelites wasn't dependent on their faithfulness. For over a thousand years they repeatedly turned away from God. Yet, God still extended his mercy and love to them. God's words of love and acts of mercy is based on "whose they are" and according to the promise of His word. The Israelites essentially failed to see that God's love and mercy for them is the means to his glorious end. How did this affect their faith and how they lived out God's intended response for them? Share how this resonates with you?
  4. One hot coal alone will quickly die out. But a bunch of coals put together will ignite a fire. Personal godliness matters and personal salvation matters, but what is God's ultimate purpose in us having a personal relationship with Christ? Talk with your group what social issues your Bridge Group care about? E.g. homelessness, education equality, racism, etc. Discuss practical ways your BG can get involved with ministries at Bridge our community-based organizations in and around City Heights.



Isaiah 42, 1-9 Who is Jesus? A Bruised King


  1. Rankin Wilbourne writes, “Every morning I wake up and find my heart has reverted to its default position: I need to prove myself today, handle things, make a name for myself….I must start each day with my union with Christ.  I must breath in faith—I am in Christ and Christ is in me.  God is good, God is in charge, and God loves me.” Do you agree?  How are you seeking to rewire your heart in grace?
  2. Read Is. 42: 1-4 & Isaiah 41:8. Discuss what is a faithful way to interpret Old Testament prophecy. Now apply that information to this passage and discuss who is the servant in this passage?
  3. Read Is. 42:3.  Discuss what a bruised reed is and discuss a recent time where Jesus, as the servant, has come to you, the bruised reed, to help mend you.  If you are not a follower of Jesus, then discuss what you do when you feel like a bruised reed.
  4. How is the imagery slightly different with that of a smoldering wick.  How does Jesus take you from being a smoldering wick and ignite a flame in your life?  Or, alternatively, if you are not a follower of Jesus, share what you do when you are at your wits end.



Easter Sermon--Disappointment, Confusion, Identity, & The Resurrection (John 20:1-18)

1.    Read John 20:11 and Luke 8:1-3.  Celsus, a 2nd century critic of Christianity, said, “How can anyone expect rational men to listen to the testimony of a “hysterical female.”  Discuss why this serves as a piece of historical evidence in favor of the Resurrection.

2.    Do you believe people in the first century were more or less likely to believe in a physical, bodily Resurrection?  Why or why not? 

3.    Read 1 Cor. 15:6.  Discuss the role of the hundreds of eyewitnesses in changing the mindset of those in the first few centuries. 

4.    Read John 20:11-15. Discuss this quote from the Shack, “When all you can see is your pain you can’t see me.  You have been looking at the world through the knothole of your pain.”  How was this true in Mary’s life?  How is this true in your life?

5.    Read John 20:14-18 and John 10:3.  Describe the impact of Jesus calling Mary’s name.  Why do you think this finally helped her see through her pain and begin to see Jesus for who He is?  How can we experience this?



4/9/17 Knowing God's Will Part 2

1.     A.W. Tozer said, "The man or woman who is wholly or joyously surrendered to Christ can’t make a wrong choice—any choice will be the right one."  Discuss.

2.     Read 1 Cor. 1:9 & Eph. 2:10.  What is the difference between a primary calling and a secondary calling?  Describe how your primary calling informs your secondary calling(s)?

3.     Read Ps. 37:4.  Discuss how your desires factor into your calling and how your feelings factor into God’s call on your life.

4.     Read Pr. 16:9, Col. 4:3, and Acts 16:6.  Describe how you know that an open (or closed) door is from God (and not Satan).

5.     Read Eph. 4:11-12, Acts 11:29, & Acts 6:2-3.  Os Guinness encourages Christians to “Do what you are.”  Discuss how this helps you understand your sense of calling.



Knowing God's Will (Romans 12:1-2)

1.     Read Ephesians 1:11 & Matthew 10:29.  What is God’s will of decree (or hidden will)?  Do you find God’s will of decree comforting or unsettling?  Discuss.

2.     Read Ps. 32:8.  In his book The Will of God as a Way of Life, Jerry Sittser describes the conventional notion of understanding God’s will as thinking that God has one right job or spouse or choice for me to make and that we have to figure it out.  If we choose wrong, then we are not walking in God’s will.  If we choose rightly, then we will have God’s favor.  Discuss how you have seen this play out in your life. 

3.     Read I Thes. 5:16-18, Mt. 6:33-34.  Pastor Stephen stated that we Know God’s will of direction (for the future) by being faithful to God’s will of desire (in the present).  He described this as the choice before the choice or the choice that affects all other choices.  How does this change how you think about the future decisions that you have to make?

4.     Read Romans 12:1-2.  Pastor Stephen stated that another core truth in knowing God’s will is that worldly success and worldly failure do not determine whether you are in God’s will.  How does this help you think about the decisions you have made in the past and that you will make in the future?

5.     One struggle we have is to believe that God is good when our life isn’t good.  Discuss how Jesus helps you with this by the choices he made to follow the will of God.



The Promise of God's Love -- Romans 8:31-39

1. Read Romans 8:35-39. What do you assume God thinks and feels when he thinks about you? Don't commit to the first thought that comes to mind. Take a couple minutes to consider this question. Share with your group.

2. In light of this passage are your assumptions about how God feels and thinks about you biblically legitimate? Why or why not?

3. How can you be sure that God's love is unconditional and personal? How does Peter's story attest to Christ's unconditional and personal love? (John 21)

4. Describe a time you felt like Peter. Have you ever felt like running away from God as far as you can, and even thought that you might have jeopardized your salvation? What happened that made you feel that way?

5. God's invitation to is to come as you are. What does that look like for you?



God's Promise to Be For Us--Romans 8:31-32

1.    Read Rms. 8:28-31.  When Paul says “what shall we say in response to “these things,” what is he referencing?

2.    Read Romans 8:31.  What causes you to turn Paul’s rhetorical questioninto a real question and doubt that God is for you?

3.    Read Romans 8:32.  How does the fact that God the Father didn’t spare his own son lead you to know that God is for you?

4.    Read Romans 8:32.  How does the fact that God didn’t spare his own Son help you deal with the things you wish God would give you (and hasn’t) or that he has given (which you wish that he hadn’t)?

5.    What helps you believe that God is for you?



God's Promise...To Be Good and To Work All Things For Good

1.    Read Romans 8:28.  This promise is only for those who love God.  Describe how you know whether or not you love God.

2.    John Newton summarized Romans 8:28 this way, “Everything is necessary that he sends. Nothing can be necessary that he withholds.”  Discuss.

3.    Read Romans 8:29.  Discuss why Paul’s use of the term predestined here shouldn’t be accompanied by any of the typical debates that surround the term when he uses it elsewhere.

4.    Read Romans 8:30.  Describe why and how the sure and certain reality of our glorification connects with God working all things for our good.

5.    How does the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus help you know that God is good and that he will work all things for our good?



God's Promise...To Not Waste Suffering (Romans 8:18-27)

1.     Read Romans 8:18.  Have you had an experience in your life where this is true?  Describe.

2.     The Hebrew word for glory is kabod, meaning weighty or that you matter.  The Greek word for glory is doxa, meaning beautiful.   Describe how suffering forges a life that matters and how suffering makes you beautiful.

3.     Read Romans 8:22-23.  Is groaning or praying in tongues part of your prayer language?  Discuss.

4.     Read Romans 8:24-25.  How does suffering make you hopeful?

5.     Read Romans 8:26-27.  Describe how the Spirit praying and interceding for you impacts your life as you go through hard times.



The Promised Life is a Costly Life (Romans 8:12-17)

1. According to Sunday's sermon, what is it about the adopted life that makes it a costly life? Do you agree or disagree? Why?

2. According to Sunday's sermon, why was there tension between the Gentile and Jewish Christians in Rome, and how was that preventing them from understanding the gospel message that Paul was entrusting to them?

3. What sort of tensions/dynamics/differences do you perceive in your relationship with others at church that can potentially distract you from living a spirit-filled life? 

4. What is the one difference between the Christian and non-believer? How does our adoption as children of God help us live a victorious life against the flesh? 

5. Divide up into gender specific groups. Share the following: What part of your flesh have you been succumbing to that you know in your heart that the Spirit wants to put to death? After sharing, pray for one another by the laying on of hands, trusting that the Spirit of God flows powerfully from your lips and is able to put to death the misdeeds of the flesh. 



God's Promise...To Control Your Mind (Romans 8:1-13)

1.     Read Romans 6:6 and Romans 8:5.  What is the difference between the old self and the flesh?  If you heard the message, discuss how the illustration with Lieutenant Onada (who fought a war that was over for 30 years and refused to trust the emperors letters) is like our battle with the flesh today.

2.     Read Romans 8:5 and John 16:14.  Discuss the role of the Holy Spirit and how you know when your mind is governed by the Holy Spirit.

3.     Read Romans 8:1.  Describe how the Spirit can govern your negative self-talk and the condemning voices that you hear.

4.     Read Romans 8:13.  Describe how you can, by the Spirit, put to death the misdeeds of the flesh by presenting the gospel to yourself.

5.     In the battle for your mind, discuss this quote:  He tells himself, “Audience of one.”  It’s maybe his most powerful mental tool…When Urban’s old thoughts start to take hold again, his mind running wild with worry, with winning, with pleasing all the people that fill that stadium and the millions beyond it who will be judging him, Kight says, “Do you think, when you come before God, he’s going to ask you about your win-loss record?” 


Prayer for the Day

·      Today, because of Jesus, I am a beloved Son of the King, and by faith and through the power of the Spirit , I will live in light of my Father’s delight in me (Mt. 3:17; 2 Sam. 22:20).   

·       Today, by faith and through the power of your Spirit, I will glorify and enjoy Jesus, my #1 priority.  That is what I was built to do and that is what I will do. 

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I will love and serve my #2 priority, Bradford, with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  I will pray for her, lead her in love, and sacrificially lay down my life for her just as Christ does for His bride.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I will be a loving father to my #3 priority, my children, and teach them to trust you Jesus and take hold of your Spirit and seek first your kingdom.  We’ll laugh together and enjoy one another and you through the power of your Spirit.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I will bless my parents and extended family through praying for them and loving them in any ways you see fit.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I will step into the work that you have called me to do, knowing that you have called me to this work and that you will use it for your glory and the renewal of all things (Rev. 21:5).

·       Today, by faith & through the power of the Spirit, I will love my neighbors and serve my church and city.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living inside of me.  As a result, the old Stephen is dead.  I’ve been raised to newness of life.  The flesh has no hold over me.  Jesus does and He will keep me in perfect peace as I fix my thoughts on Him.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I have control over my mind (Rms. 8:6), and I will live an abundant life, with a peace that passeth understanding,  a light-hearted happiness, and a focused freedom (2 Cor. 3:17).

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, more fruit will grow and abound in my life.  More love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) in me.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I have a sufficient grace for everything that is in front of me.  Everything.

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, I will walk in right paths, knowing that you, my Good Shepherd, are leading me, and as a result, my life has purpose, meaning, and significance.  I will accomplish the things planned long ago for me to do and I will, by the power of the Spirit, do them with joy (Eph. 2:8-10). 

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, when I get knocked down, I will get back up and I won’t stay down. 

·       Today, by faith & through the power of your Spirit, when I sin, I will own it and turn from it.  I won’t stay in sin and I won’t listen to condemnation.

·       Amen

Sermon Slides From Sunday

Slide 1

“You’ve got to have an outlet. You’ve got to do something. You’ve got to stay healthy,” says Shelley, his wife.  “I don’t have time,” he would say. Over and over, like a mantra. I don’t have time.  “What’s 30 minutes less of film?” Shelley said. “You can’t take 30 minutes and go run on the treadmill?” “No. I don’t have time.”  

Urban Meyer I’m Not the Lone Wolf

Slide 2

Shelley says now, “It was just a big mountain of pressure, stress, lack of control and not accepting what he couldn’t control. He was not accepting that he couldn’t control everything. He’s a perfectionist. He wants to win every game. He wants to win every championship. And that’s just not even clear thinking. You can’t. You just can’t.”  “When he was in the middle of it, that’s where you can’t think. In a black hole, you don’t see things the right way.”

Urban Meyer I’m Not the Lone Wolf

Slide 3

And yet, for all the tricks Urban's mind played on him—making him unable to sleep, making him obsess over the work he had to do, and scaring him with all the ways not doing that work would ruin everything—maybe the most dangerous trick of all was that his mind made all of this feel normal. He says, "I've found out I'm not the lone wolf." 

Urban Meyer I’m Not the Lone Wolf

Slide 4

But we have the mind of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 2:16

Made new in the attitude of your minds. - Ephesians 4:23

Slide 5

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. -Romans 8:5

Slide 6

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. - Romans 8:6


For if you live according to the flesh, you will die (no governor); but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. -Romans 8:13

Slide 8

3 Keys to governing your mind:

(1)  Know the role of the Spirit

    those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit         desires.  Romans 8:5


[The Spirit] will glorify me…

John 16:14

"I remember walking to a church one winter evening to preach on the words, ‘he shall glorify me,’ seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are so placed that you do not see them [at all]; you are not in fact supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained. […] This perfectly illustrates the Spirit’s new covenant role."

J.I. Packer Keeping in Step with the Spirit


"He is, so to speak, the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior. […] The Spirit’s message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him, and hear his word; go to him, and have life; get to know him, and taste his gift of joy and peace.’ The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together.” 

J.I. Packer Keeping in Step with the Spirit


I don’t like the term illness, because it’s a gift. The compulsive, obsessive, high-end, achieving people, those are the ones that keep pushing harder. I’ll name you the greatest players I ever coached, and every one of them have that same trait. So I don’t think it’s an illness. I think you have to be aware…that you have that trait, and how to manage it. But look at it not as an illness, but as a blessing that you somehow have to keep ahold of.

Urban Meyer, I’m Not the Lone Wolf


He tells himself, “Audience of one.”  It’s maybe his most powerful mental tool…When Urban’s old thoughts start to take hold again, his mind running wild with worry, with winning, with pleasing all the people that fill that stadium and the millions beyond it who will be judging him, Kight says, “Do you think, when you come before God, he’s going to ask you about your win-loss record?” 

Urban Meyer, I’m Not the Lone Wolf


3 Keys to Governing Your Mind:

(2)  Consider the crucifixion of condemnation in and through Christ


There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1



3 Keys to Governing Your Mind:

(3)  Present the Gospel to yourself

·      if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 

Romans 8:13


"Getting your mind right is a constant, never-ending discipline. It’s a battle. A fight. And there is a lack of training in general in our country on how to manage mental state in order to live, work, perform at a good level, let alone an elite level. That’s true every place."

Tim Kight



A Spirit-Filled Life--Freedom to Struggle (And Win!)

1.     Read Romans 7:14-15.  How have you felt this tension of doing what you don’t want to do?

2.     Read Romans 7:16-20.  Is Paul shirking responsibility?  Why or why not?

3.     Read Romans 7:21-23 and Romans 7:5.  Describe an instance from your life when the law, which is good, came in contact with sinful nature and lead to more sin in your life?

4.     Read Romans 7:24-25.  Discuss the difference between willpower and the Spirit’s power to change when it comes to your eyes, your tongue, and/or your relationships.

Quotes from the sermon:

Wallace:  I see a whole army of my countrymen here in defiance of tyranny. You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What would you do without freedom? Will you fight? 

Soldier:  Fight? Against that? No, we will run; and we will live. 
Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you'll live -- at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!!!

I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Women spend more time checking out other women than they do checking out men, keen to see what 'the opposition' is wearing, how much cellulite they have, what their hair looks like and whether they have any dark or unflattering roots, how thin they are.

Swimwear 365

When I became a believer I thought I had drown the old nature, but the rascal knew how to swim.

Martin Luther

“It was a fine, clear, January day … and the Regent’s Park was full of winter chirruppings and sweet with spring odors. I sat in the sun on a bench … I reflected I was like my neighbors; and then I smiled, comparing myself with other men, comparing my active goodwill with the lazy cruelty of their neglect. And at the very moment of that vainglorious thought, a qualm came over me, a horrid nausea and the most deadly shuddering. […] I looked down … I was once more Edward Hyde.”

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde







A Spirit-Filled Life--Christian Liberty (Galatians 6:16-26)

1.  Read Galatians 5:16.  How do you let the Holy Spirit guide your lives?

2.  Read Galatians 5:17-18.  Describe a time in your life where you experienced the power of the Spirit overcoming the opposing desires in your life.

3.  Read Galatians 5:22-23.  Which fruit of the Spirit is most prevalent in your life and which is most lacking?  Discuss.

4.  Read Galatians 5:24-26.  Describe one way that you are seeking to follow the Spirit's leading in your life.