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Born Again

Read John 3:1-16

1. Jesus confronts ever facet of Nicodemus' world (read vs. 1). Why is that significant? What is John trying to communicate?

2. There's a part of us, our flesh, that doesn't like the idea of fully letting go and fully accepting Jesus' message on his terms. There's a part of us that wants Christianity only to the degree that it's safe, where the cost isn't too high, and we still get to maintain some control. What is that for you?

3. Nicodemus attempted to confirm Jesus' Messiahship by seeing if Jesus fits into his religious paradigm. Are there times you try to put Jesus in a box to fit your religious paradigm? Share a story when you found yourself doing that.

4. "Born" in the Greek is in the aorist tense, which gives the verb a quality that is ongoing and repeating with a continuing state of relevance. Why is this important for you to know? How does it change the way you read this passage?

5. Where are you now in your spiritual journey? In light of this, what is God's invitation to you?

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One Prayer

Read John 17:20-26

1. Who is the focus of Jesus' prayer in this passage?

2. What kind of unity exists between God and Jesus that we should copy?

3. What is the "glory" Jesus mentions on verse 22 (See also John 17:4-5)?

4. What does Jesus' ultimate desire (v.24) reveal about his love for us?

5. How do verses 25-26 sum up the major concerns of Jesus in chapters 13-16?

6. How important to you is unity with other believers? With whom do you share this unity?

7. How can you experience more unity?

8. How can you become the answer to Jesus' prayer?

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Unity in Diversity

Read Ephesians 4:1-16

1. Of the qualities listed in verse 2, which did you demonstrate the best today? The worst?

2. What is God’s purpose in giving gifts to his people? Why is it important that each part of “the body” does its work?

3. According to this passage, what’s the problem with trying to live the Christian life apart from the church? In what ways do you need others?

4. On a scale of 1 (apart) to 10 (together), how unified is your church? How are you doing at fulfilling your call to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (v.3)?

5. How might we reach unity in the faith (v.13)?

6. What is the goal of the unity of believers (v.13-15)?

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One Church, One Mission

Read Romans 10:9-21

1. What would you say is the general view in the world today about how a person can get to heaven?

2. According to verses 9-10, how is one saved?

3. How do the questions that Paul asks in verses 14 and 15 challenge you?

4. What does it mean to confess “Jesus is Lord”? How does it tie in with belief?

5. Recall when you confessed Jesus is Lord and believed God raised him from the dead.

6. The central affirmation of the early church was “Jesus is Lord”; everyone else was saying “Caesar is Lord.” Who or what are some gods that compete with your allegiance to Christ?

7. Discuss with your group the possibility that you can attend the Missions conference on January 27th together as a group. Visit www.allsent.org/conference for more details. The discount code is John 2021.

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Security in our Unity - Dan Baits

  1. Read John 17: 20-26

    1. How does this passage reveal that the unity of the church starts with God rather than with us?

    2. What does unity or oneness in the church look like? When have you experienced this oneness?

  2. Read Acts 15: 4-19

    1. If debate does not destroy unity, what principles of debate do we see in this passage that can help us maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?

    2. How can debate help us to attain to the unity of the faith?

  3. Read Galatians 2:11-14: Why was Peter’s hypocrisy such a threat to the church’s unity and to the gospel itself?

  4. Read Ephesians 4: 1-7 and 11-13

    1. Why is it important for us to realize that unity is maintained and attained by us  rather than created by us.

    2. What can you do to help maintain the unity of the Spirit?

    3. How might we attain to the unity of the faith?

  5. Read Romans 8:16-17: How does this passage reinforce the message that unity is a matter of faith?

  6. Read Revelation 5: 9-10: How does this vision inspire you?

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Spiritual Renewal

Read Nehemiah 8-10

1. How do people first respond to the Book of the Law of Moses (vv. 3, 5, 6, 9)? How do you account for this response?

2. What happens when they truly understand? (vv. 9-12)

3. When they confessed their sins, what did they say was the source of their problems? (vv. 36-37)

4. How important was the reading of God's Word in your own spiritual renewal?

5. When you "saw the light," did you weep and mourn? Celebrate with joy? Did you then give to the poor or reach out to others on the margins of society?

6. How does a Christian today show sincerity in one's confession and repentance of sin?

7. What three activities from this passage would be foundational to the renewal of our church? How could your Bridge Group help in one such activity?

8. In our church, what seems most neglected? (a) The Oficina? (b) God's Word? (c) People? (d) Leaders? (e) The Christian lifestyle? (f) Other? Why do you think so?

9. What will you as individuals and as a group do next week as a direct result of renewing your covenant vows today?

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Fight to the Finish!

Read Nehemiah 6:1-16.

1. What is one of your greatest accomplishments? How did you accomplish your goal and what did you learn from your experience?

2. What could distract you from doing the most important thing God wants you to do?

3. What steps can you take that will help prepare yourself to handle distractions when they come at you?

4. Why are rumors such a dangerous tactic the enemy uses to discredit us?

5. How is the enemy trying to tempt you in order to discredit your integrity?

6. Describe a time when you gave into temptation and compromised your integrity. How did that experience impact you?

7. Where in life do you feel like you want to give up right now? What steps can you take to ensure that you succeed?

8. In what areas do you need to ask God for strength?

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Defeating Discouragement

Read Nehemiah 4:1-23

1. What’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ve overcome? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from your experience?

2. How do you typically respond to opposition and criticism?

3. What steps have you taken towards carrying out your mission? If you haven’t moved forward, what obstacles are keeping you from doing so?

4. Do you find it the most difficult to deal with external or internal opposition? Explain.

5. How do you plan to handle opposition and discouragement as you fight for your cause?

6. Opposition is not always bad. How have you seen God use opposition to strengthen you?

7. One way to defeat discouragement is to remember the Lord. What are some of the great things you’ve seen God do throughout your life?

8. Do you feel passionate enough about your cause to fight for it? Why or why not? 

9. In what ways do you need the help of God and others in fighting for your cause?

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The Change-Your-World Leader in You - 08.27.2017

Read Nehemiah 2:1-20

1.  Why do so many of us have such a hard time seeing ourselves as world-changing leaders?

2.  What do you think made Nehemiah such a great leader? How can you apply these qualities in becoming a “change your world leader”?

3.  What is God leading you to do? Define your mission as clearly as you can.

4.  Nehemiah overcame his fears to carry out his mission. What fears are keeping you from carrying out yours?

5.  Why do you think Nehemiah was so confident that God would grant him success in his mission? How confident are you that you will succeed?

6.  How will you inspire others to help you carry out your mission? 

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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?

 

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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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