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Ordinary World Changers

1. Who is someone you feel is a great example of a world-changer? What is it about this person that inspires you?

2. Read Nehemiah 1:1-11.

In this passage, Nehemiah is heartbroken by the fact that the wall and gates of Jerusalem were destroyed.         

3. What breaks your heart and stirs righteous anger within you?       

4. How has your burden impacted you emotionally and spiritually?         

5. In what ways have you seen God use you and those around you to impact others in a positive way?      

6. What keeps you from taking action on your burden? What do you need to do to remove these barriers?

7. Read Nehemiah 2:1-10.

Nehemiah decides to act on his burden by committing to rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.          

8. What challenges are you facing that you need to take to God in prayer in the way Nehemiah did with his burden?       

9. How is God stirring you to take action on your burden? What’s your next step?          

10. Who are some people you’ll need with you to change the world?           

11. What impact do you think you could make on others if you decided to address your burden and take action?

***Please note that due to a technical problem, this sermon was not recorded.

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It will Happen!

Read Acts 27:13-26

1. What in verses 13-20 reveals how severe this storm was? Verse 27 indicates this situation lasted two weeks. How would you be feeling by the end of the first week?

2. As a sailor on board, how would you feel about Paul's message in verses 21-26?

3. When have you felt caught in a "northeaster," driven along by the wind? What happened? What did you learn from the situation?

4. In a crisis, Paul reacted with urgent forewarnings, maintaining hope, counseling, common sense, giving thanks, remaining calm, persevering to the end. In comparison, how do you react to crisis?

5. I terms of a weather report, how would you describe your life at present? What is the greatest pressure situation you're facing now?

6. What is your part and what is God's part in the resolution of your storm?

7. What are some of God's promises to you that you know "it will happen"? How do these promises help you to keep up your courage and not lose hope?

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In Transition

1. Read 2 Kings 5:1-14

2. What do you know about leprosy? (You can always google it)

3. How do you think Naaman's condition affected his life?

4. Why does Naaman take so much money with him?

5. What is significant about the contrast between Naaman's grand arrival and Elisha's quiet, even cool, reception (vv. 9-10)?

6. Why does Naaman become angry (vv. 11-12)?

     a. So that his soldiers won't think he's naive?

     b. Because Elisha's reception was so cool?

     c. Because the healing will require his cooperation?

     d. He wanted a big spectacle?

7. What happens to Naaman that he didn't expect and couldn't foresee?

8. Why are Naaman's servants persuasive in urging him to lighten up and get into the Jordan river (v. 13)?

9. When has their logic been used on you?

10. What condition in your life would you like God to heal you from?

11. Have you asked him? If not, why not?

12. Naaman was asked to dip himself 7 times in the river. He was not healed until the 7th time. Do you feel you are on a journey to your healing? Where are you in this journey? Do you feel like giving up? Do you believe you will see it through?

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Pain, Prayer, Power

1. What is the pain you carry that the Lord wants you to bring to him?

2. Where is your Shiloh the Lord is leading you to?

3. How can our pain be redeemed through gospel power?

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Getting Rid of Distractions

Read 1 John 2:15-17

1. If you only had an hour left to live, how would you spend this time?

2. What does John mean by "the world"?

3. What does it mean to love the world?

4. Why does John not give us the option, which seems possible, to be partially committed both to God and to the world?

5. In what areas of your life does love for the world compete with love for God: In your use of money? Time? Priorities? Relationships?

6. How did Jesus deny the love of the world in order to do the will of the Father? (see Matthew 4:1-11)

7. Pray and ask Jesus to empower you to be more like him and help you get rid of worldly distractions so that you can do the will of God and fulfill the purpose he has for you.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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