Sermon Response August 12, 2018

The Text:Matthew 5:1-10

Discuss:

  1. What do you think is Jesus’ main objective for giving the beatitudes?

  2. How do you think those listening that day would have received such “negative” sounding message?

  3. Do you agree or disagree with me that the beatitudes are a step by step “instruction” guide for living like Jesus? Explain.

Respond:

  1. Read each of the eight beatitudes one at a time and let a few people from your group discuss how that verse applies to their life.

  2. Have time for quiet reflection on your life and where you are in your spiritual journey. Try and apply the teachings of Jesus to your life and then share with the group what you need to do this week to take one step forward.

Prayer

God, may we learn from you word and apply it to our life!

      Sermon Response August 05, 2018   The Text:Ezra 10:1-17   Discuss:    Why was Ezra mourning? In your opinion was his response justified?    What do you think of the plan Shekaniah came up with? Explain your answer.    Why do you think the rain was such an issue for the people?    Where you shocked to find out there were only 111 men guilty of the sin in all of Israel? Why or why not.    Respond:    Why do you think confession is so powerful, yet so rarely done in the church?    Have you ever experienced the liberating freedom of confession? Tell the story.    Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.  3. MOMENT OF TRUTH: Is there anything in your life that you would like to confess to the group?  Prayer  God, may we find your sweet mercy though continual and genuine confession.

Sermon Response August 05, 2018

The Text:Ezra 10:1-17

Discuss:

  1. Why was Ezra mourning? In your opinion was his response justified?

  2. What do you think of the plan Shekaniah came up with? Explain your answer.

  3. Why do you think the rain was such an issue for the people?

  4. Where you shocked to find out there were only 111 men guilty of the sin in all of Israel? Why or why not.

Respond:

  1. Why do you think confession is so powerful, yet so rarely done in the church?

  2. Have you ever experienced the liberating freedom of confession? Tell the story.

Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

3. MOMENT OF TRUTH: Is there anything in your life that you would like to confess to the group?

Prayer

God, may we find your sweet mercy though continual and genuine confession.

      Sermon Response July 29, 2018   The Text Ezra 9   The exiles have returned from captivity to Jerusalem... the temple has been completed and dedicated... the worship of God at the temple has been re-established... but something is wrong. The people have sinned against God by marrying the “faithless” people of the land, and Ezra is devastated.  Discuss 1. Read Ezra 9:1-2. How were the officials doing their job correctly by  telling Ezra about the sin of the people? In what ways would this be appropriate for leaders, parents, pastors, etc.? What keeps us from doing this for the people we lead?    What are your thoughts on the fact that the priests and Levites were also participating in the sin?    Besides breaking the law from Deuteronomy 7:1-4, why was it sinful for the people to marry the people of the land?    Read Ezra 9:3-6. How does your reaction to sin compare to Ezra’s? Do you find it easier to be “appalled” at other people’s sin rather than your own? Why or why not?    What do you think would happen if you grieved your sin as strongly as Ezra grieved this sin?    Read Ezra 9:7-9. Ezra recounts the grace and mercy of God. How does focusing on His grace and mercy help you overcome sin?    Read Ezra 9:10-15. Ezra recounts the guilt of the people and the separation from God that results because of their sin. How does admitting guilt and remembering the “wages of sin” help you overcome sin?       Respond    Write down a sin that you struggle with... look at that sin written on the  paper... How does that sin make you feel? Don’t share your sin with  the group, but share your feelings.    Now draw a cross over the sin and fill it in until you cannot see the sin  anymore. This is what the blood of Jesus does for your sin and He cannot see it anymore. He suffered a criminal’s death so that your sin would be paid for and forgotten. How does that sacrifice make you feel?    Prayer  Dear Jesus, I have been set apart to be holy - dedicated to you and for your service, and in my sinful state, I am not worthy to stand before you in any capacity. But because of your death on the cross, I have been made worthy, not because I am good, but because you are righteous. I know that I cannot ignore my sin or I will never admit my need for you to save me, so help me admit my guilt... help me grieve enough to repent of my sin... and help me surrender to your Spirit so that I can live in righteousness. Amen.

Sermon Response July 29, 2018

The Text Ezra 9

The exiles have returned from captivity to Jerusalem... the temple has been completed and dedicated... the worship of God at the temple has been re-established... but something is wrong. The people have sinned against God by marrying the “faithless” people of the land, and Ezra is devastated.

Discuss
1. Read Ezra 9:1-2. How were the officials doing their job correctly by

telling Ezra about the sin of the people? In what ways would this be appropriate for leaders, parents, pastors, etc.? What keeps us from doing this for the people we lead?

  1. What are your thoughts on the fact that the priests and Levites were also participating in the sin?

  2. Besides breaking the law from Deuteronomy 7:1-4, why was it sinful for the people to marry the people of the land?

  3. Read Ezra 9:3-6. How does your reaction to sin compare to Ezra’s? Do you find it easier to be “appalled” at other people’s sin rather than your own? Why or why not?

  4. What do you think would happen if you grieved your sin as strongly as Ezra grieved this sin?

  5. Read Ezra 9:7-9. Ezra recounts the grace and mercy of God. How does focusing on His grace and mercy help you overcome sin?

  6. Read Ezra 9:10-15. Ezra recounts the guilt of the people and the separation from God that results because of their sin. How does admitting guilt and remembering the “wages of sin” help you overcome sin?

 

Respond

  1. Write down a sin that you struggle with... look at that sin written on the

    paper... How does that sin make you feel? Don’t share your sin with

    the group, but share your feelings.

  2. Now draw a cross over the sin and fill it in until you cannot see the sin

    anymore. This is what the blood of Jesus does for your sin and He cannot see it anymore. He suffered a criminal’s death so that your sin would be paid for and forgotten. How does that sacrifice make you feel?

Prayer

Dear Jesus, I have been set apart to be holy - dedicated to you and for your service, and in my sinful state, I am not worthy to stand before you in any capacity. But because of your death on the cross, I have been made worthy, not because I am good, but because you are righteous. I know that I cannot ignore my sin or I will never admit my need for you to save me, so help me admit my guilt... help me grieve enough to repent of my sin... and help me surrender to your Spirit so that I can live in righteousness. Amen.

      Sermon Response July 22, 2018   The Text:Ezra 8   Discuss:    Why do you think there were no Levites among the 1500 men?    Why do you think Ezra trusted God more than soldiers and horsemen?    How do you think they transported so much gold and silver?    Why do you think Ezra demanded such meticulous counts of the offerings given for the temple?    Respond:    Have you ever given someone biblical council/ advice? Did it help them?    Do you ever feel like it is easier to give biblical council than it is to follow it? Why is this?    3. Have you ever fasted so as to humble yourself before God? Tell the story.  4. What do you need to do this week to better trust God and humble yourself before him?  Prayer  God, may we trust you and live out what we believe to be true about you. Help us humble ourselves before you. You are our great God!!

Sermon Response July 22, 2018

The Text:Ezra 8

Discuss:

  1. Why do you think there were no Levites among the 1500 men?

  2. Why do you think Ezra trusted God more than soldiers and horsemen?

  3. How do you think they transported so much gold and silver?

  4. Why do you think Ezra demanded such meticulous counts of the offerings given for the temple?

Respond:

  1. Have you ever given someone biblical council/ advice? Did it help them?

  2. Do you ever feel like it is easier to give biblical council than it is to follow it? Why is this?

3. Have you ever fasted so as to humble yourself before God? Tell the story.

4. What do you need to do this week to better trust God and humble yourself before him?

Prayer

God, may we trust you and live out what we believe to be true about you. Help us humble ourselves before you. You are our great God!!

      Sermon Response July 15, 2018   The Text:Ezra 7   Discuss:    What made Ezra such a unique servant of God?    Why do you think Artexerxes was so kind to the Ezra and his companions?    Why was Persia so concerned about making people follow the Law of Moses?    Respond:  1. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt the rules made you obey God (ie. church camp, your grandma’s house)? How did it make you feel?  2. Do you feel you do a good or bad job at Studying the Word of God? Explain.  3. Do you feel you do a good or bad job at observing/obeying the Word of God? Explain.  4. Have you ever experienced the freedom that comes from knowing that Jesus is your righteousness? Or do you feel like it is on you to follow the laws of God?  Prayer  God, make us holy just as you are holy. May your Word guide us and may your Son, Jesus, enable us to live lives worthy of your name!

Sermon Response July 15, 2018

The Text:Ezra 7

Discuss:

  1. What made Ezra such a unique servant of God?

  2. Why do you think Artexerxes was so kind to the Ezra and his companions?

  3. Why was Persia so concerned about making people follow the Law of Moses?

Respond:

1. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt the rules made you obey God (ie. church camp, your grandma’s house)? How did it make you feel?

2. Do you feel you do a good or bad job at Studying the Word of God? Explain.

3. Do you feel you do a good or bad job at observing/obeying the Word of God? Explain.

4. Have you ever experienced the freedom that comes from knowing that Jesus is your righteousness? Or do you feel like it is on you to follow the laws of God?

Prayer

God, make us holy just as you are holy. May your Word guide us and may your Son, Jesus, enable us to live lives worthy of your name!

      Sermon Response July 8, 2018   The Text:Ezra 6   Discuss:    Why do you think the memo they found in Ecbatana is different from the one quoted in Ezra 1?    Why do you think Zerubbabel is not mentioned as the governor in vs 7 or for the rest of Ezra?    Why is it so unlikely that Darius wrote vs 9 without some help? Explain.    Why was it important for the Levites and the priests to purify themselves before they served at the Passover festival vs 20?    Respond:    How has the Lord filled you with joy (vs 22)? Tell the story.    Have you ever been part of a team that served the Lord and when the task was done all you were left with was unspeakable joy (16)? Tell the story.    When you read Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” How does your heart respond to those words? Explain.    Prayer  God, may you be our joy and our strength. May we run to you!!!!! Psalm 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in you.

Sermon Response July 8, 2018

The Text:Ezra 6

Discuss:

  1. Why do you think the memo they found in Ecbatana is different from the one quoted in Ezra 1?

  2. Why do you think Zerubbabel is not mentioned as the governor in vs 7 or for the rest of Ezra?

  3. Why is it so unlikely that Darius wrote vs 9 without some help? Explain.

  4. Why was it important for the Levites and the priests to purify themselves before they served at the Passover festival vs 20?

Respond:

  1. How has the Lord filled you with joy (vs 22)? Tell the story.

  2. Have you ever been part of a team that served the Lord and when the task was done all you were left with was unspeakable joy (16)? Tell the story.

  3. When you read Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” How does your heart respond to those words? Explain.

Prayer

God, may you be our joy and our strength. May we run to you!!!!! Psalm 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in you.

      Sermon Response July 1, 2018  The Text: Ezra 5    Discuss: 1. 2. 3. 4. Why did God sent the prophets to Jerusalem? Why did Tattenai ask for the names of those constructing the temple? What does Ezra mean when he says the “eye of God was upon them?” How would you grade the response that the Jews gave to King Darius? Explain your answer. Respond: 1. Tell of a time when you knew God was watching over you?   2. The returnees to Jerusalem realized that is was God’s will for their families to have been exiled in Babylon. How do you respond to a God who would act in such a manor just to secure the hearts of his people? 3. What area in your life is God currently trying to get you change but you have been sitting on for quit some time? Prayer God, may we trust you and faithfully follow you all the days of our lives.

Sermon Response July 1, 2018
The Text: Ezra 5


Discuss:
1. 2.
3. 4.
Why did God sent the prophets to Jerusalem?
Why did Tattenai ask for the names of those constructing the temple?
What does Ezra mean when he says the “eye of God was upon them?”
How would you grade the response that the Jews gave to King Darius? Explain your answer.
Respond:
1. Tell of a time when you knew God was watching over you?

 2. The returnees to Jerusalem realized that is was God’s will for their families to have been exiled in Babylon. How do you respond to a God who would act in such a manor just to secure the hearts of his people?
3. What area in your life is God currently trying to get you change but you have been sitting on for quit some time?
Prayer
God, may we trust you and faithfully follow you all the days of our lives.

      Sermon Response June 24, 2018  The Text:Read Ezra 4  The Jews who have returned run into opposition to them rebuilding the temple and have to stop working.  Discuss:    The Jews went from a spiritual high of getting back to Jerusalem to a spiritual low of having to stop rebuilding. What is an example you having experienced something similar in your life?    The Jews faced opposition for wanting to exclusively rebuild the temple, have you ever had to face opposition for exclusively following Christ?    Though enforced by men, God allowed the rebuilding of the temple to be stopped. What is an example of one time in your life that God directed things differently than you would have preferred?    Respond:  1. Should there be an expectation of our lives being smooth and easy once we accept Christ? In your life, when things don’t go the way you want, how have you reacted and what does that say about our believed about life being easy as a Christian?    Is there someone in your life that is dealing with the question of whether to choose trust in God this week? Is there someway for you to reach out and help them?    CHALLENGE: Discuss those that may be struggling with trust in God this week and then commit to pray for them everyday.    Prayer  God, help us trust you when we don’t know what’s next and help us to see and act on the opportunities you give us to be your hands and feet this week.

Sermon Response June 24, 2018

The Text:Read Ezra 4

The Jews who have returned run into opposition to them rebuilding the temple and have to stop working.

Discuss:

  1. The Jews went from a spiritual high of getting back to Jerusalem to a spiritual low of having to stop rebuilding. What is an example you having experienced something similar in your life?

  2. The Jews faced opposition for wanting to exclusively rebuild the temple, have you ever had to face opposition for exclusively following Christ?

  3. Though enforced by men, God allowed the rebuilding of the temple to be stopped. What is an example of one time in your life that God directed things differently than you would have preferred?

Respond:

1. Should there be an expectation of our lives being smooth and easy once we accept Christ? In your life, when things don’t go the way you want, how have you reacted and what does that say about our believed about life being easy as a Christian?

  1. Is there someone in your life that is dealing with the question of whether to choose trust in God this week? Is there someway for you to reach out and help them?

  2. CHALLENGE: Discuss those that may be struggling with trust in God this week and then commit to pray for them everyday.

Prayer

God, help us trust you when we don’t know what’s next and help us to see and act on the opportunities you give us to be your hands and feet this week.

      Sermon Response June 17, 2018   The Text:Ezra 3   Discuss:  1. 2. 3. 4.  5.  Why is the 7th month important? Why did the priests build the altar first?  Who is Zerubbabel and what was his role?  Why did the old men cry when they saw the foundation being laid?  Why do you think the people chose Psalm 136:1 to sing?  Respond:    Do you worship God because of who he is or simply where you are?    Do you worship God in a way that to not do so for a long period would cause you sadness?    Do you worship God so boldly that others take notice?    Prayer  God, may we well up with thanksgiving when we think of who you are and what you have done for us. May that thankfulness pour out in worship and praise. May we be a people that worship you in such a way that others take notice.

Sermon Response June 17, 2018

The Text:Ezra 3

Discuss:

1. 2. 3. 4.

5.

Why is the 7th month important?
Why did the priests build the altar first?

Who is Zerubbabel and what was his role?

Why did the old men cry when they saw the foundation being laid?

Why do you think the people chose Psalm 136:1 to sing?

Respond:

  1. Do you worship God because of who he is or simply where you are?

  2. Do you worship God in a way that to not do so for a long period would cause you sadness?

  3. Do you worship God so boldly that others take notice?

Prayer

God, may we well up with thanksgiving when we think of who you are and what you have done for us. May that thankfulness pour out in worship and praise. May we be a people that worship you in such a way that others take notice.

      Sermon Response June 10, 2018   The Text: Ezra 2 (Do not read the entire text)   Discuss:  1. 2. 3.  Why were some people listed by name and others only by geography?  What was the role of the musicians and gatekeepers?  Why do you think only “some” of the family heads gave free-will offerings?  Respond:  1. Have you ever been part of a large movement of God (more than 40,000 people)? explain.    Have you ever struggled to give back to God that which he has freely given to you? Explain.    If you looked at your bank account would it show contributions to the work of God? Why or why not?    Money is only one of many barometers that show the condition of our heart. What are other things in your life that help you judge your affection for God?    Prayer  God, may we love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. May our affection for you grow each and every day and may we live open handed with the resources you have entrusted to us.

Sermon Response June 10, 2018

The Text:
Ezra 2 (Do not read the entire text)

Discuss:

1. 2. 3.

Why were some people listed by name and others only by geography?

What was the role of the musicians and gatekeepers?

Why do you think only “some” of the family heads gave free-will offerings?

Respond:

1. Have you ever been part of a large movement of God (more than 40,000 people)? explain.

  1. Have you ever struggled to give back to God that which he has freely given to you? Explain.

  2. If you looked at your bank account would it show contributions to the work of God? Why or why not?

  3. Money is only one of many barometers that show the condition of our heart. What are other things in your life that help you judge your affection for God?

Prayer

God, may we love you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. May our affection for you grow each and every day and may we live open handed with the resources you have entrusted to us.

      Sermon Response June 3, 2018   The Text:Ezra 1   Discuss:    Why did God wait so long to rebuild His temple?    Why do you think Cyrus allowed anyone who wanted to return to Jerusalem?    Why did the “survivors” give silver and gold along with free-will offerings?    Why did Ezra include the inventory list into his story?    Respond:    Have you ever felt like God moved you at a heart level to do something? How did you respond?    When it comes to “going” or “funding” missions which side do you lean towards and why?    When grasp that God can work by using the King of Persia to accomplish his will, how do you feel about his ability to work in your life?    How will your life look different after reading the first chapter of Ezra?    Prayer  God, make us aware of your great power and may that knowledge strengthen our faith and our trust in you every day of our lives.

Sermon Response June 3, 2018

The Text:Ezra 1

Discuss:

  1. Why did God wait so long to rebuild His temple?

  2. Why do you think Cyrus allowed anyone who wanted to return to Jerusalem?

  3. Why did the “survivors” give silver and gold along with free-will offerings?

  4. Why did Ezra include the inventory list into his story?

Respond:

  1. Have you ever felt like God moved you at a heart level to do something? How did you respond?

  2. When it comes to “going” or “funding” missions which side do you lean towards and why?

  3. When grasp that God can work by using the King of Persia to accomplish his will, how do you feel about his ability to work in your life?

  4. How will your life look different after reading the first chapter of Ezra?

Prayer

God, make us aware of your great power and may that knowledge strengthen our faith and our trust in you every day of our lives.

      Sermon Response May 20, 2018   The Text:Ruth 4:12-22   Discuss:  1. 2. 3.  Why did the elders wish the offspring of Ruth and Boaz to be like that of Perez?  Why do you think the birth of Obed was so significant to Naomi?  Why did the town’s woman get to name Obed? Is there significance in his name?  Respond:  There are four requirements for a kinsmen redeemer. I will list each one and then some scripture that speak to being of like mind and therefor the perfect kinsmen redeemer. After  each requirement please simply answer how the requirement makes you feel and if it will impact the way you live your life this week.  A Kinsmen had to be a near relative:  Hebrews 2:11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.  A Kinsmen must be willing to redeem:  1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  John 4:34 My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.  A Kinsmen must be free themselves:  2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.     A Kinsmen must be able to pay the price of  redemption:  Hebrews 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Prayer  God, thank you for the book of Ruth and all that it teaches us about your son Jesus, our perfect redeemer.   

Sermon Response May 20, 2018

The Text:Ruth 4:12-22

Discuss:

1. 2. 3.

Why did the elders wish the offspring of Ruth and Boaz to be like that of Perez?

Why do you think the birth of Obed was so significant to Naomi?

Why did the town’s woman get to name Obed? Is there significance in his name?

Respond:

There are four requirements for a kinsmen redeemer. I will list each one and then some scripture that speak to being of like mind and therefor the perfect kinsmen redeemer. After

each requirement please simply answer how the requirement makes you feel and if it will impact the way you live your life this week.

A Kinsmen had to be a near relative:

Hebrews 2:11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

A Kinsmen must be willing to redeem:

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

John 4:34 My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

A Kinsmen must be free themselves:

2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

A Kinsmen must be able to pay the price of

redemption:

Hebrews 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Prayer

God, thank you for the book of Ruth and all that it teaches us about your son Jesus, our perfect redeemer.