The Book of Philemon
January 23, 2022
The Book of 3John
January 16, 2022
The Book of Titus
Discussion Questions: 1. Paul writes to Titus who is on the island of Crete. He gives a small insight into the Cretan society and culture when he quotes a poet of the time. He says: “Someone said from out of their own, a prophet from among them: Cretans always are liars, evil beasts, idle bellies. This testimony is true. What do you make of this statement? What does this tell us about the history and culture of Crete 2000 years ago in the context of being an island nation in the Mediterranean world. Try searching for information about Cretan culture and family life in the first century AD and discuss the differences between that culture and ours in 21st century New Zealand. 2. Paul writes a description of the characteristics that are looked for in elders of the church and gives a list of what to avoid as well. In the light of Cretan culture why do you think he also wrote a list to avoid? Paul also writes on the same topic to Timothy (1 Timothy 3). What are the similarities and differences in these descriptions of Elders? Does Timothy being in Ephesus and Tutus being in Crete make a difference? What do you think these scriptures say about women being in leadership in the church? 3. Paul teaches strongly to Titus about Christian living and how this is a powerful way of sharing the gospel, and not bringing Jesus or his gospel into disrepute. What is our response in the 21st century to this same call on our lives? What do we need to change to bring a fresh clarity to our own lies as we meet and work and live our lies with those that do not know Jesus yet so that they more clearly see and experience the life transforming love of Jesus? Make a list and commit with one person to change something in your life to make Jesus better known to those around us that do not know him yet.
January 09, 2022
Discussion Questions: 1 When you hear songs about peace during the Christmas season, what do you imaging that looking like? In light of this week’s message, what now surprises you most about that? 2 How have you experienced God’s peace in your life? Where has he been your refuge? 3 Peacemakers are desperately needed in our world. Peace-making is something we actively pursue. What does pursuing peace with others looks like? 4 Biblical peace means that while we don’t have to love everything as it is, it does mean we can cope with those things we most dread. How can Psalm 46:1-3 and 10-11 help us better learn to experience peace even in the hard times? 5 What would help you in your effort to live at peace with everyone in your family? Work? School? Church? Community? What area of your life do you need more peace? 6 Jesus came as the Prince of Peace so we can all have peace with God. As followers of Jesus, we’ve been called to offer this same peace to others. Who in your life would you love to see experience peace with God during this Christmas season? 7 In addition to prayer, what could you do that might help you nudge the person you named above toward the Prince of Peace? What could you do to nudge yourself towards peace with others?
December 11, 2021
Discussion Questions: 1. What does the idea that sin is the reason for the season make you think about? 2. Now what does the outrageous love God has for you make you think about? 3. Have you accepted how valuable you are in light of God’s love shown to you? What difference does that make, or could make, for your life? 4. What are a couple of ways you could demonstrate the reality of God’s love to others during this Christmas season? How about during the other non-holiday days? 5. What traditions does your family have, or you could start this year, that help keep Jesus at the centre of Christmas?
December 04, 2021
Discussion Questions: As a kid, what was an ultimate, fun, dream present you hoped to receive? (and received or still haven’t received it yet)? Why is hope based upon things that have happened in the past and always future oriented? (Romans 8:24-25) How are hope and faith related? How are they different? (Hebrews 11:1-2) What are some things you are waiting for from the Lord? (Lamentations 3:22-26) Jeremiah 29:11 talks about plans for hope and a future during a long period of affliction. Has there been a time in your life when there seemed to be no hope? What kept you going or what will keep you going in the future? For those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, we are given a “living hope.” What does it mean to have a “living hope”? (1 Peter 1:3-5) In what ways can we share the hope within us with others? (Colossians 1:24-29)
November 27, 2021
Discussion Questions Luke 7:36-50 Two people make an effort to be around Jesus in Luke 7:36-37. One wants to know about him, while the other wants to know him in worship, humility, devotion, gratitude and service. Which of these two better describe the way you feel around Jesus? Why? When you look at people, do you see more of their past or what God is doing now and can make of them in the future? Do you believe that God also wants to forgive YOUR debt? Have you been forgiven little or much? How have you responded to that forgiveness? Do you remember when you first understood that God loves you just as you are? When was that? What happened? How did you respond? How have you seen God’s forgiveness produce transformation in people (or yourself)? Does your idea of righteousness move you away from people (separate from sin) or does it move you toward people (offering forgiveness and peace)? Why? What are some ways we can welcome and provide community for those who are ashamed of their past, or who do not have any encouragement to move forward from their past?
November 20, 2021
Finding Refuge in the Shepherd's voice
Discussion Questions: 1. How do you maintain a close listening ear to The Shepherd? 2. How might attending small groups help us to remain Christ centred? 3. In what way has lockdown given you an appreciation of your church community? What have you missed the most? 4. What does Christ’s ownership of you look like in your life? 5. How might challenging times reveal God’s protection of His Church? 6. Share a story of how God has restored a broken relationship in your life. 7. In what ways can you help reach those who do not know the Good Shepherd? 8. What are some of the ways the Good Shepherd has protected you? Pray with thanks for the different ways God protects us.
November 13, 2021
Discussion Questions 1. What does it mean to have faith in Jesus? 2. Think about the characters of the bible that you know. Which stories help us understand faith? 3. In the contemporary world, what characters come to mind that through their lives we get an understanding of faith God? 4. In your own life, are there any instances where you felt God was teaching you about faith. If comfortable recount and share these stories with the group. 5. How do we as a community of Christ express and communicate the faith we have in Jesus to the world around us? How should we?
November 06, 2021
Nuts and Bolts
Discussion Questions: 1. What will you take away from the story of Rich Mullins life and how will you apply it to your life? 2. Do you have a hero of the faith? How did they come to faith? 3. How does the apostle Paul's message apply to you today? 4. Rich Mullins talked of others being "nuts and bolts” for him. What examples can you think of when someone was a nut or a bolt for you? 5. Can you be a nut or bolt for someone else in or out of the church? 6. How can you get involved in the next Alpha course? What skills could you bring to the team? Who could you invite to join you on the course? Finally, Learn more about the music and ministry of Rich Mullins at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mk5vYDj3is Learn more about Alpha at https://www.alpha.org.nz/ and email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
October 30, 2021
Discussion Questions: Discuss your picture and understanding of Jesus: Before he was born. Find, list and discuss the verses that describe him … in the beginning (the Word of God). As a man. Find, list and discuss your favourite verses that communicate Jesus to you. After his ascension. Find, list and discuss the verses that describe Jesus, particularly Revelation 4, 5 and 19. Having developed these three visions of Jesus, compare and contrast them. Take time to pray together and acknowledge Jesus in all his glory.
October 23, 2021
Heaven's Wisdom for a Bankrupt Church
Discussion Questions: Why did the Church at Laodicea cause Christ to utter such harsh judgement? We all agree we should be a friendly Church. What was meant by the statement, “In trying to be relevant we must be careful not to become irrelevant”. How might a Church become irrelevant: - by ceasing to engage in worship lest others feel embarrassed? - by diluting the true meaning of Scripture lest others be offended? - by compromising truth in order to be popular? What is meant by “Revival is like Judgement Day”? It has been said that the reason we do not have revival is because we are very happy to live without revival”. Discuss. Do we see signs of a Laodicean spirit in our midst? If so, what is meant by: - “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire” - “white garments that you may be clothed” - “anoint your eyes with eye salve” What might be the result of a Presence-Driven Church? The Presence-Driven Church means “Jesus is in the midst”. Discuss the idea that “God’s Presence; births purpose, which births plans, which birth productivity.”
October 16, 2021
Philadelphia: the Faithful Church
Discussion Questions: 1. How does the Lord Jesus describe Himself (7)? What does the “key of David” open, and what does this mean (vv.7-8; cf. Isa. 22:22-24; Matt. 16:19)? What doors has Christ placed before you? How have you taken advantage of these “open door” opportunities? 2. How is the church able to persevere? What did Jesus mean by, “you have but little strength” (v.8)? 3. What does it mean to be a “true Jew” (v.9, cf, Rom 2:2-29)? 4. What did Jesus mean in v.10 by, “keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth? What did Jesus mean by, “I am coming soon” (v.11)? 5. How does their reward (v.12) fit their faithfulness? 6. In what ways are you like, or unlike, the Christian’s in Philadelphia?
October 09, 2021
The Miraculous in our Midst
Discussion Questions: John 2:1-11 John makes the comparison between John 1 and Genesis 1. In your group have someone read Genesis 1 aloud, and then someone read John 1 aloud. List all the similarities you can find. What do you make of this? The servants do what Jesus asks despite the seeming irrelevance of the actions to the problem. What are the insignificant acts of obedience that Jesus is asking you to do? What are they for the church as a whole? How does the story of the wedding in Cana reveal Jesus glory?
October 02, 2021
Paul's Love letter to the Philippians: Shalom
Discussion Questions: In verse 4, Paul tells us to rejoice in Lord always. Where else in scripture, and not just the obvious, does this instruction get stated, in one way or another. Discuss what this really means. How can we rejoice particularly in the tough times, the sad times. Share some of your own stories around this. Paul suggests that as Christians we should let our gentleness be evident to all. Gentleness here resonates with the idea of being humble that Paul develops earlier in the letter. Both of these ideas, gentleness and humility are often portrayed in the 21st century as being weak characteristics. In Pauls teaching though, both of these ideals flow out of strength. Discuss how both gentleness and humility in the Christian world can actually be about being strong. Paul teaches that in our prayer life we should be specific, praying and petitioning God in and for our specific situation. Discuss how you pray and then spend some time talking about your specific prayer needs. Then pray together, specifically. Anxiety and worry are strong themes in the 21st century with many people suffering from mental health issues. Paul encourages us to spend time thinking about virtuous things and supplies and powerful list. Share your favourite, or go to, bible verses for when you are worried or anxious, and also share what they mean to you, and why. If there is time also share what else you spend time reading, watching, listening to that lifts your spirit in tough times. For homework, keep a diary for a week as to what you read, look at, listen to and try to get a feel for how much is positive and virtuous in the 21st century. If you watch the news try to estimate how much in the hour say is positive and could be called virtuous 😊.
September 25, 2021
The Church that Tolerated Sin
(Revelation 2:18-29) Discussion Questions How does the Lord Jesus describe Himself in verse 18? How do you interpret this description? Why is this appropriate for the church at Thyatira? What were the strengths of the church at Thyatira? What were the weaknesses of this church? What were the characteristics of the OT Jezebel in 1Kings 2:5-25, and 2Kings 9:7-37? What does the symbolic name “Jezebel” reveal about this woman in the church in Thyatira? Who or what has played a role similar to Jezebel in your life (names aren’t necessary)? How did the Lord free you from that influence? What does the Lord promise the overcomers in verses 26-28? What do you appreciate most about this promise?
September 18, 2021
The Church @ Sardis Street
Discussion Questions: Share a story about a sports team or group who had a reputation far better than its performance? In verse 1 what did the Lord mean by, “you have a reputation for being alive?” What are the implications of a church that has a reputation for aliveness, but the Lord has to tell them they are dead? What was the contrast between reputation and reality in the church at Sardis? What does Paul say about this in 2Tim. 3:5? Deadness is as unscriptural as doctrinal error. What are some warning signs of deadness in a church? What dangers exist for Christians who rely on an image instead of nurturing a genuine spiritual life (v.2)? How can a church continue if it is spiritually dead? From verse 3 make a simple outline of the only hope for survival in the church of Sardis. If Jesus addressed this “wake up call” to you, what would He want you to strengthen?
September 11, 2021
Pergamum: If You Can’t Curse Them, Then Corrupt Them
(Revelation 2:12-17) Discussion Questions Can anyone share the illustration of a frog being slowly heated in a pot of water? How is this similar to the temptations we face as believers? What was the teaching of Balaam (Num. 22-24; 31) that was being introduced to the believers at Pergamum? How do you think it affected the Pergamum church? What issues or sins do you think the Lord Jesus would point out to our church as things He is not pleased with? What is the significance of the “sharp two-edged” sword (v. 16)? What is the significance of the “hidden manna,” the “white stone,” and the “new name which no one knows?” What cultural influences distract you from your relationship with Christ? How subtle or direct are those influences in your life? What weapons has God given to you to do battle with these influences? Are there any verses from Scripture that come to mind as you are being tempted by these influences?
September 04, 2021
Pergamum: the Church of Worldly Compromise Part 1
Revelation 2:12-17 Discussion Questions What do think “worldly compromise” means? In what ways might a church group compromise with the culture around it? How does the Lord Jesus introduce Himself to the church at Pergamum (2:12)? How does this differ from His introduction to the churches in Ephesus (2:1) and Smyrna (2:8). Why does the Lord use the illustration of the “sharp two edged sword” (2:12)? How do you think the Lord Jesus would introduce Himself in a letter to our church at Central Baptist? What did the Lord mean by, “I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is”? What pressures do you think the church in Pergamum faced? How did the Lord commend the church in Pergamum (2:13)? What do we know about Antipas (2:13)? How bold are you at sharing your faith in the face of opposition?
August 28, 2021
Paul's love letter to the Philippians
The full Virtual Church programme is available on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/0Y_qKQp2Zio Discussion Questions: 1. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is really quite short. Read it aloud from beginning to the end. If you are in a bubble, or arrange a zoom meeting with others, take turns to read it together. Make a list of the main ideas (words) that stand out to you. 2. Euodia and Syntyche were out of relationship in the Philippian church. If they were 2 people in our church, how would you approach the situation to try and help them be united in Christ? Look carefully at he advice in Matthew 18. 3. Timothy and Epaphroditus were both full time Christian workers who showed what humility and self-sacrifice look like as a disciple. Is it easier or harder to show these characteristics as a disciple of you are a Christian volunteer while holding down a full time job? Why? 4. Paul gives us a number of case studies on humble and self-sacrificial discipleship. His own story in Philippians is also a case study. Read through the letter and discuss the ways his own life, as told in this letter, exemplify the themes of humility and self-scrifice. Got a prayer need or can offer help? email email@example.com HCBC Kids YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ2LelFKwz4FnYJv3yK8mMQ Support our ministry: http://www.hcbc.nz/giving Get involved with our virtual church programme? email firstname.lastname@example.org Check out our website http://www.hcbc.nz for more information about Hamilton Central Baptist Church
August 21, 2021
Paul’s Love Letter to the Philippians
Discussion Questions: In your own words say what it is for you to; “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”. As Paul introduces the idea of being in the same mindset as Christ Jesus in verse 5, he prefaces it with; “In your relationships with one another ….”. What does it mean to have the mindset of Christ in our relationships with each other? Philippians 2:6-11 is a clear description of Christ Jesus and his actions into the world. Compare this with Colossians 1:15-20. Take time to read both of these aloud and talk about what the differences are and why you think the differences are there? If you have time try to search what was happening in Colossae. The Roman cursus honorum, or way of laying up one public honour upon another to raise in social status was a powerful actor in the culture of the time. Do we have any similar features in our own society or culture? Then what about the church? As Baptists we believe that we are a priesthood of all believers. Does the church have aspects of this cursus honorum, and if so how does it work? Should it be there?
August 16, 2021
The Trials and Triumphs of Smyrna
1.Smyrna, modern Izmir, was an ancient city possibly dating back 3000 years, and located 56kms north of Ephesus. What do we know about the birth of the church in Smyrna? Where does the city and church in Smyrna feature in the book of Acts? How might the church possibly have been planted (Acts 19:10)? All we know about the city and church are written in Rev. 2:8-11. 2.What do you think the Lord Jesus meant by calling Himself “the First and the Last?” What do you think is implied in this title (cf. 1:17)? 3.What problems were the church at Smyrna facing? How could they be both poor and rich at the same time? What is noticeably missing in the Lord’s letter to the church at Smyrna? What does the fact that there is no criticism from the Lord tell us about the church? 4.Has it been harder for you to live out your faith when you have been poor, or when you have had surplus money? Why do you think that is? In what ways do you feel spiritually rich (cf. Eph. 1:18)? 5.What does this passage teach us about suffering? How does this encourage us in the suffering or persecution that we may have to face? 6.What is promised to the “overcomers” (2:11)? How should we be encouraged by this?
August 09, 2021
When Love Grows Cold Part 2
Discussion Questions: 1. In verse 4 the Lord Jesus tells the Ephesian church, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” What happens when that first-love fades? 2. What do you think the Lord meant by, “Remember the height from which you have fallen?” 3. In verse 6 the Ephesian believers were commended for hating the practices of the Nicolaitans. What are the implications of leaving your first love for Christ, but hating a false religious cult? What are some examples of this today? 4. In verse 4 is the Lord addressing the corporate church or the individual? What about verses 5 and 6? 5. Who is the Lord addressing in verse 7? Why the change? 6. From verse 7 we see that individual believers within the church can be true to the Lord, regardless of what others do. What connection is there between the ‘Tree of Life’ in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9; 3:22), and the Paradise of God (Rev. 22:2, 14, 19)? 7. Who are the “overcomers” (1John 5:4-5)? How can we be sure we are “overcomers?” What promise does the Lord Jesus give the “overcomer?”
August 02, 2021
When Love Grows Cold
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 25th July 2021) Revelation 2:1-7 Introduction: In chapters 2-3 the seven churches of Asia Minor were actual historical churches. They represent the types of churches that have existed right down through the church age. 1.Who wrote the letter to the Ephesians (v.1)? The seven stars is the same Greek word as messengers. What was the message they were carrying? What are the implications of these messengers being held in His hand? 2.List the strengths of this church (vvs.2-3). How do these strengths compare with our own church? How do we as individuals compare? 3.What did the Lord have against this church (v.4)? How is leaving/forsaking different from losing? What are the implications of leaving their first love for Christ when there were a number of commendable attributes in the church? 4.Can you remember your first-love for Christ? How does that compare with your relationship with Christ now? 5.What did the Lord tell the Ephesian believers to do (v.5)? What would happen if they didn’t repent and return (v.5)? 6.What do you think the Lord is saying to our church today? What do you think the Lord is saying to us as individuals?
July 26, 2021
A Call to Mission with Jono and Michele Pound
Why would anyone want to take their family to live in a dangerous country on the other side of the world? Hear from Jono and Michele Pound as they share how God is calling them to serve and how you can support them in this awesome adventure. If you wish to partner with the Pound family please email Mandy at the MAF office email@example.com For more information contact Jonathan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
July 18, 2021
The Majestic Vision and the Extraordinary Assignment - Read this first: Part 2, Continued…
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 11th July 2021) Revelation 1:9-20 1.Share what you imagine it might be like to be separated from family, friends, and Believers, and to be imprisoned on a rocky island with other prisoners? How did John view his imprisonment in verse 9? 2.What did John’s isolation give him time to do (v.10)? How did God use John’s terrible situation for His divine purposes? Can you think of a time in your life when God used a horrible situation for His glory? 3.Why do you think John reacted to the vision the way he did in verse 17? How was this vision of Christ different from what John had experience as a disciple of Christ? 4.How would the words of the Lord Jesus in verses 17-18 be a comfort to John? What was the Lord Jesus implying? 5.What “extraordinary assignment” did the Lord Jesus give to John (v.19)? Explain the possible outline of Revelation in verse 19. 6.What assignment might the Lord Jesus be giving us this week in light of what we are learning?
July 11, 2021
The Majestic Vision and the Extraordinary Assignment
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 4th July 2021) Revelation 1:9-20 1.Why was John on Patmos? What do we know about his assignment there? 2.What four characteristics (v.9) did John have in common with his believing readers? 3.Skim verses 9-20; what hints do we have concerning John’s spiritual condition? What does this tell you considering he was on an island prison? 4.Close your eyes and someone read verses 12-18 slowly – several times if necessary. What do the images of these verses suggest about the Lord Jesus? (cf. Daniel 7:9) 5.In verse 13 John saw “one like the Son of Man.” Who is this referring to in Daniel 7:13? 6.What is the meaning of the seven stars and the seven lampstands? How do these both relate to the church? What comfort is there for us today in the Lord’s description of Himself in verse 18? 7.How can you be on Patmos (suffering) and in the “Spirit” (reigning) at the same time?
July 05, 2021
Read This First
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 27th June 2021) Revelation 1:4-8 1. Why is it so important to read the “Read This First” instructions before using a new purchase? Can you relay a story of what happened when you didn’t follow the instructions before using a new purchase? 2. In what ways is Revelation 1 a “Read This First” chapter? In relation to the larger context of Revelation, why would this have been so comforting to the early church? 3. Verses 4 – 5a give a benediction. What was it and who was it from? Why would this have been so encouraging for the persecuted church? 4. Read aloud verse 7. Who is it who will see Jesus coming? Why will they mourn? 5. Why does the Lord Jesus call Himself the “Alpha and Omega”? What does this mean, and how comforting is that for today? 6. What do verses 5a – 6 say, and what do they mean? How does this relate to us today?
June 28, 2021
Visions of God
Discussion Questions Revelation 1:1-3 1.How many of you have read Revelation right through? What are your opinions of the book? Why do you think so many Christians avoid reading it? 2.What does “Revelation” mean? In ch. 1:1, who is being revealed? For what purpose? 3.Who is John? Who are the recipient churches in verses 4 and 11? 4.What is significant about the references to God in verses 4 and 8? 5.What are the meanings of the titles given to Jesus in verses 5 and 6? What three things does Christ do for us? 6.What theme of the book of Revelation is foreshadowed in verse 7? How will you personalise and pass along the blessing promised in verse 3?
June 21, 2021
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 13th June 2021) 1. What was Deborah’s role among the Israelites? What were her duties? 2. At the beginning of Judges Chapter 4, when Ehud the last major Judge had died, what was the nature of Israel’s relationship with God? 3. Why did Deborah send for Barak in verse 6? How did he respond to her request? And how would you describe his attitude toward Deborah? 4. How was Deborah a good leader? What qualities do we look for in leaders? 5. What might you do / think about differently after this sermon
June 14, 2021
This I Believe: God is Sovereign Over His Earth
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 6th June 2021) This I Believe: God is Sovereign Over His Earth Psalm 24 Read Psalm 24 aloud. What lines of this Psalm indicate a precession into Jerusalem? What were the Sons of Kohath, David and the Israelites carrying into the city (1Chron. 15:25-16:4)? What does David claim about God in verses 1-2? Explain why this truth is so comforting for the believer. How does the truth “The earth is the Lords” relate to David’s question and answer in verses 3-4? What did David mean by “clean hands and a pure heart? What does David mean by, “does not lift up his soul to an idol” (4)? How do verses 7-10 relate to the precession into Jerusalem (especially in relation to what was being carried)? What is stressed about God in verses 7-10? How does Paul apply this Psalm in 1Cor. 10:25-26? What does God’s reign as “King of Glory” call you to be or do?
June 06, 2021
This I Believe: The War of the Will
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 30th May 2021) Isaiah 14:12-15 Quickly skim over Isaiah 14:1-23. What is the dominating theme of the chapter? What important, though morbid, principle is brought out in verses 9-11? How does this differ for the believer in Christ? What common refrain is repeated in verses 12-15? Who might these verses be possibly referring to? (Daniel 10:13, 20-21; Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:8-10). In what ways do we demand “our own will and way” today? According to 2Peter 1:3-4, what does it mean to be a true Christian? What does the last part of verse 4 literally mean? “. . . having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” What happened when you received Christ as Saviour and Lord? How does the believer “walk in Christ?” (Col. 2:6)
May 31, 2021
This I Believe: You Are Not Your Own
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 23rd May 2021) 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 The believer who is cleansed from sin, sanctified, and justified by God’s grace, is set free from the bondage of sin. What had the Corinthian believers done with that freedom, that Paul had warned the Galatian believers not to do (Gal. 5:13)? How did the Corinthian believers rationalise sexual immorality (1Cor. 6:12-13)? Are there any other sins you can think of today that believers tend to rationalise and accept as ok? Are there any that we ignore, or are afraid to talk about because it’s not PC to discuss or mention them? In verse 17 Paul argues that illicit relationships by a believer are especially reprehensible. Explain why Paul argues this. What was Paul’s argument concerning sexual sin, or any other sin in verse 19? What is the believers supreme purpose (6:20; cf. 10:31)? What application can you make from this purpose for believers today?
May 24, 2021
The Last but Not Least
Discussion Questions: Matthew 20:1-16 1. What is God’s Kingdom like? 2. How might comparing ourselves with others impact our relationship with God? 3. How does the parable of the vineyard workers challenge the way you think about others with greater needs than you? 4. How would you describe the difference between Child-like faith and blind faith? 5. What might you have in common with the rich young ruler? How might your faith be strengthened through serving others? 6. Read the Parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-23) How does your faith compare to the different places the seed fell? What support might your small group offer to those who are new or struggling with questions.
May 16, 2021
I believe in the Glory of Christ
Discussion Questions Luke 9:27-36 Why did Jesus take Peter, James, and John up on the mountain (28-29a, cf.9:19)? What did Jesus do on the mountain (28-29a)? Do you notice a theme here? Why do you think Luke emphasised this? What can we learn from this? What connection, if any, is there to verse 27? What happened to Jesus as He was praying (29)? Who appeared with Jesus on the mountain? What did they talk about? What can we learn from this? What were Peter, James, and John doing (32)? What did Peter say when he woke up? What did God say from the cloud (35)? When else has God said something very similar (Luke 3:22)? Why do you think God told the disciples to “listen to Him”? When it comes to listening to Jesus, how hard of hearing are you?
May 10, 2021
I believe in the deity of Christ
Discusion Questions 1.Why would the Lord Jesus be interested in an opinion poll on who the crowds thought He was? Why do you think Jesus asked the follow-up question in verse 20? 2.What do you think was the reason for the Lord’s stern command not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah? 3.How might the disciples have felt about verse 22? 4.Look at verse 23. What attitudes or activities are key to following Christ? 5.What do you think Jesus meant by, “whoever loses his life for My sake will save it”? 6.Give some specific examples of what it means today to: (a) deny yourself, (b) take up your cross daily, (c) follow Christ, and (d) lose your life.
May 03, 2021
I believe in the Spirit of Truth
Discussion Questions How were the disciples of the Lord Jesus to show love to each other (John 13:34)? How are they to show love to the Lord Jesus (14:15)? Why do you think this command is repeated four times (14:15, 21, 23-24)? Why do you think the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Truth” (14:17, 26)? What do you think Jesus meant when He told His disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans (John 14:18)? What is the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to the believer (14:23)? Are they more like owners in your life, or temporary guests? What do you learn about the Holy Spirit in verses 16-17 and 25-27? What is the difference between how the Lord Jesus gives peace and how the world gives peace? How has the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus in your life?
April 25, 2021
I Believe in the Word of God
Discussion Questions 1Peter 1:22-25; 2Timothy 3:16-17 1. What is the meaning or understanding behind the claim that the Bible is intellectually perfect (1Peter 1:23)? 2. What did Paul mean when he said that “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2Tim. 3:16-17)? Notice that Paul states how the Bible should be used in these verses. Can you share an experience of using the Bible in this way? 3. How do you answer somebody who claims that the Bible is full of flaws and contradictions? (2Peter 1:21). What did Peter mean when he said, “But the word of the Lord remains forever”? (1Peter 1:25; cf. Matt. 24:35). If this is true, can the Bible have “flaws” in it? 4. Look at Luke 24:25, 27; how did the Lord Jesus view the Old Testament when He spoke with the two on the Road to Emmaus? 5. Considering the description of Moses in Acts 7:22, what is significant about the way that Moses wrote Genesis 1-8?
April 19, 2021
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 11th April 2021) John 21 Going Fishing Jesus called the disciple away from their trades to follow him, what has God called you away from to follow him? Had you been in the boat, how would you have respond to the call of Jesus to throw the net over to the other side? The call of Jesus to love our neighbours carried a price, what has it cost you? Having pondered this topic what do you feel motivated to do differently this week from last?
April 11, 2021
The Undeniable Evidence of the Resurrection
(Week commencing Sunday 4th April 2021) The Undeniable Evidence of the Resurrection John 20:1-18 1. When something really upsets you, who is the first person you tell? 2. Put yourself in the place of Mary Magdalene. What is your emotional state two days after the crucifixion? Why would you visit the tomb so early Sunday morning? How would you react if you found the tomb open? 3. How did Peter and John respond to Mary’s report? How did they respond at the open tomb? 4. What proof do we have that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead? 5. When a loved one dies, how does the resurrection of the Lord Jesus help you deal with your pain? 6.Look at verse 17. What new term does Jesus use for His disciples here? What is new in their relationship from now on (see 15:15)? What does it mean to you that Jesus is your brother?
April 08, 2021
The Final Seven Weeks
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 28th March 2021) Daniel 9 Part 3 Whose handwriting do we find near impossible to decipher? What does this enigma imply about God’s “answering service” (vv.22-23)? What six events happen within the “seventy sevens” (v.24)? Which of these events refer to Jesus as the Anointed One? Which events seem to be still in the future? What do the “seven sevens,” “62 sevens,” and “one seven” mean? What is the significance, if any, of the three divisions? What is the “abomination that causes desolation (v.27, cf. Matt. 24:15)? Take special note of the future-tense in Matt. 24:15. For Daniel and the Lord Jesus, is the emphasis on what the future holds, or on who holds the future, or both? Explain the Gospel from this passage (vv.20-27).
March 29, 2021
Unlocking the Prophetic Word
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 21st March 2021) Daniel 9:20-26 1. Two thirds of Daniel 9 is devoted to Daniel’s prayer. Only one third gives a glimpse into the future. What might this suggest to us? 2. What was so significant about the timing of the Angel Gabriel’s arrival in Daniel’s room? What/who does the evening sacrifice ultimately point to? 3. Why do you think the time period of 490 years is broken by three time periods; 7 sevens, 62 sevens, and 1 seven? 4. What six things happened within the “seventy sevens”? Which events may refer to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (458-430 B.C.)? Which events refer to Jesus as the Anointed One? Which events still seem to be in the future? 5. For Daniel and the Lord Jesus, was the emphasis on what the future holds? Or on Who holds the future? What hope does that give us in these uncertain times we live in?
March 22, 2021
Daniel's response to an old Prophecy
Daniel 9:1-19 Sunday 14th March 2021 Discussion Questions: How important is prayer to you? Do you make prayer a priority in your walk with God? Give some examples (personal, or someone you know or have read about) of what a vibrant prayer life might look like. Where was Daniel living when he wrote the book of Daniel? How did he end up there? How important do you think prayer was to him? What did Daniel understand from the “books,” and why was this so significant? What can we learn about the Scriptures from Dan. 9:2, and how did Daniel interpret what he read? In verse 5 Daniel prays, “We have sinned.” The Hebrew verb translated “sinned” means “to miss the mark.” Read Judges 20:16. What are the implications of what Paul states in Rom. 3:23? Skim through verses 4-19. What elements of prayer does Daniel include in his prayer? Which of these elements do we need to add to our prayer life? Finish with prayer, and include as many elements of Daniel’s as seem appropriate.
March 13, 2021
March 07, 2021
The Persecution of the Hebrew Church
February 27, 2021
How will we be remembered
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 20th February 2021) Topic: How will we be remembered What would you like written on your epitaph? Who are some people in your life who have believed in you, when you felt others weren’t? How did they demonstrate this to you? What was the result? Barnabas brought Saul (a new convert) across the doorstep of the church and introduced and vouched for him – Acts 9:26-28. Who did that for you? How did it happen? Who is an example of a person with a good reputation? What is it about them that you regard so highly? What are some of the ways Christians damage or destroy their reputation? How can a damaged reputation be restored? Why is a good reputation with outsiders an important qualification for church leaders? Look at 1 Peter 2:11-12. What are some of the ways that these verses can be applied to 21st century living?
February 20, 2021
The Church in Transition
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 14th February 2021) Text: Acts 11:19-26 How do you respond to the statement: “God is not always predictable?” What are some examples that you have seen of churches changing (e.g. going through a kind of metamorphosis)? How do respond to change? Does it excite you or unsettle you? Why? What kinds of people does God use to do/achieve significant things in his kingdom? Describe someone like Barnabas in your Christian journey, and how he/she encouraged you in your spiritual growth? What was the “evidence of the grace of God” (v.23) that Barnabas saw when he arrived in Antioch? What could we do this next week/month to be like Barnabas?
February 13, 2021
Led by the Spirit
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 7th February 2021) Text: Acts 10:1-48 What for you is the biggest lesson from this passage? Why? The instruction accept hospitality and eat with a non-Jew was a huge issue for someone like Peter. What might a contemporary application of this be in our twenty-first century context? The Jews held huge prejudice against Gentile races, which the Gospel challenged. What are some of the implications of this for our day and age? The Holy Spirit went to amazing lengths in saving Cornelius and his household (e.g. visions, angels, trances, direct instructions, etc.). Looking back on how you came to faith, what did God have to do to get your attention? How have you experienced God giving you clear and decisive direction/instruction? How have you discerned God’s will in your life? What are some specific examples?
February 06, 2021
Paul’s Love Letter to the Philippians
January 30, 2021
How Elastic is God's Grace?
January 24, 2021
Philip, an Ethiopian & the Holy Spirit
January 16, 2021
The Divine Light
January 09, 2021
Preparation for Service
January 02, 2021
A Christian Response to Christmas
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 13th December 2020) Topic: A Christian Response To Christmas What is your most meaningful Christmas experience? What is the greatest or most memorable Christmas gift you have received? Christmas in a country like ours so often misses the point. Why do you think that has happened? When the Apostle Paul suggested we be non-conformist (Romans 12:2) what do you think he had in mind? What might a passage like Luke 14:12-14 say to us in how we celebrate Christmas? Read Luke 10:38-42. What might be a contemporary application from this passage for our context? If you could change one thing about how we celebrate Christmas what would it be?
December 13, 2020
The Paradox of the cross
December 06, 2020
Scattered and Battered
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 29th November 2020) Text: Acts 8:1-4 Describe a traumatic event that happened to you in your formative years? How has God used that for your good over the years? Why is that people who live righteous lives are sometimes the butt of hatred and opposition? In what ways are Christ-followers persecuted in the 21st century? What has it cost you to be a Christian? What was Jesus getting at in Luke 6:36? What might be signs of “koinonitis” (fellowship that has turned in-grown) in our contemporary church life? What can we do about it? Many Christians grizzle and moan about their current situation or circumstances, and in so doing miss the opportunity to proclaim (show forth) the good news. What can we do about this?
November 28, 2020
Discussion Questions: (Week commencing Sunday 22nd November 2020) Text: Acts 6:8-7:60 How important is our reputation? How would you respond to those who say they don’t really care what other people think of them? On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter referred to the experience of Holy Spirit power as something that would be for all followers of Jesus (Acts 2:38-39). Why do you think this was significant? Why was Stephen so vehemently opposed and attacked by the people? What was the main point(s) Stephen hoped to get across in Acts 7:44-50? Stephen used the metaphor of “stiff-necked people.” Who might this kind of metaphor apply to in our day and age? Stephen paid the ultimate price (as the first Christian martyr) for speaking the word of God. What has it cost us to follow Jesus? How do you relate to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:10-12?
November 21, 2020
Coping with a conflict
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 15th November 2020) Text: Acts 6:1-7 How do you cope with conflict? Some people don’t seem to be too affected; others find it devastating. Which are you? How can conflict within a church community (or small-group or family) be constructive and produce a good outcome? What needs to happen? There’s a lot of talk (around the world, and even here in NZ) about nationalism and looking after our “own” people first. Was that what was happening in Acts 6? What do you think might be God’s response to nationalism, versus looking after “aliens” and “foreigners?” What does a verse like James 1:27 mean for contemporary Christianity? How does the scenario described in Acts 6:1-7 square up with the idea of servant-leadership? Were the apostles simply getting out of doing a menial task? In v.2 and v.4 there is reference to “ministry of the word” as a higher priority for the apostles. What might this mean for the twenty-first-century church? v.7 tells the result of the restructuring the first church did. Why do you think this was the case? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of Scripture?
November 14, 2020
4 Men and a Mat
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 8th November 2020) Text: Mark 2:1-12 Which of the characters do you naturally lean towards? What is an unexpected cost you have had to pay because you are a follower of Christ Had you been there on the crowd. How would you respond? We follow a Teacher who unconventional, how easy is it for you not follow the crowd and do something unconventional? Having pondered this topic what do you feel motivated to do differently this week from last?
November 07, 2020
Getting in Hot Water without Getting Wet
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 1st November 2020) Text: Acts 5:17-42 V.17 says that the Sadducees were filled with jealousy toward the apostles. Why do you think that was the case? What experiences have you had of being told to not speak about your faith? Peter’s response to the Sanhedrin (v.29) is forthright and defiant. What might be occasions in our day and aged where such forthrightness might be called for? What does (or might in the future) religious persecution look like in a country like ours? What does a verse like John 14:21 say to you? Gamaliel was a surprising supporter of the apostles before the Sanhedrin. What do you think was his motivation? What does this passage of Scripture challenge you to do differently this week?
October 31, 2020
What do we think about miracles?
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 25th October 2020) Text: Acts 5:12-16 When you read about miraculous events in the Bible do you accept them as described, or do you doubt the accuracy of what is recorded? What would you consider to be the greatest miracle described in the Bible? A number of churches like to say they believe in healing and miracles, but it often looks like the same people “going forward” to be healed week after week. What is the impact this has on the credibility of genuine healing? Tell about an experience you have had of being healed? How did it happen? Why do you think miracles are not as common amongst the contemporary church as we read they were amongst the first generation believers? What could we do to see signs and wonders occur more often in our church? What is the most impactful verse or sentence in Acts 5:12-16 for you?
October 24, 2020
Continue to work out your faith with fear and Trembling
Discussions Questions In your own words talk about when you were saved. Was it a moment in history, or something that happened over a period of time? Tell your story. What does the term Salvation mean to you. Explain it to the rest of the group, and then listen as others explain what they understand. What are the consistent terms and ideas being used. As you think about the terms that you have used to describe salvation, think about the average 14 year old in New Zealand right now. Haw many of these terms would they use or hear normally in a week? As we think about the way salvation, or atonement, has been talked about throughout the centuries since Jesus, how has the language changed to explain salvation. Why has it changed? In changing the word pictures, has the fundamental message changed? A list of concepts was given as the building blocks of understanding salvation; Atonement, Grace, Justification, Reconciliation, Redemption, Sacrifice, Victory. Are there other fundamental ideas that you think should be on the list. Discuss.
October 17, 2020
A Kingdom view of Government
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 11th October 2020) Text: Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-15 Why do you think Paul and Peter saw it important to write about obeying the laws of the land? What might have precipitated that? How do you respond to Romans 13:1? Are there exceptions to this? In the first few centuries of the church there were occasions when governing authorities compelled action that Christians couldn’t comply with (like calling Caesar “lord,” etc.). Are there parallels to this in our day and age? Romans 13:6-7 challenges us to willingly pay taxes. Why is this an important biblical instruction? What might be some creative ways we can put into practice verses like 1 Timothy 2:1-3? What do you think about Christian political parties? How important is it that Christians vote in a General Election?
October 10, 2020
Hope in All Seasons
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 27th September 2020) Text: 1 Kings 17 & 18 What are some beautiful things you have learned during difficult times? Talk about an experience you have had where you cried out to God for something. Hebrews 12:7-11 talks about hardship coming from God, who as a father, disciplines His children. How might this passage be an encouragement to you in your next difficult season? What has the lock down revealed about some of the things you place too much hope in. What are some of the ways placing our hope in God sets us apart from the crowd? What are some new ways you can worship God this week?
September 26, 2020
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 20th September 2020) Text: Luke 8:22-25 How do you tend to respond to storms in your life—with panic or peace? Or both? Can you think of any times in your life when doing the right thing (obeying God)… …led you into a storm? ...led you out of a storm? We hear this phrase quoted by many in our culture today in a variety of difficult or confusing situations: “Everything happens for a reason.” How accurate do you think this statement is? What was the worst “life storm” you have ever experienced? How did God see you through that event? How does that encourage you now? Take some time to silently pray and meditate on God’s power to calm the storms in your life and who Jesus is in your life.
September 19, 2020
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 13th September 2020) Text: Acts 4:32-37 Which part of this passage grabs (amazes/challenges/astounds) you the most? Why? What does unity in the church look like, and what are some ways it is challenged or stymied? How does unity amongst believers testify to unbelievers about God (John 17:20-23)? What are the risks in sharing one’s resources? What can be done to mitigate that risk? Why do you think the believers described in Acts 4:34-35 laid their gifts at the apostles’ feet, for them to distribute, rather than giving personally to people in need—as described in Acts 2:45? How might the sharing of financial and physical resources within the church have an impact on how people perceive Christians in our day and age? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of scripture?
September 12, 2020
The Cost of Being Spirit-filled
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 6th September 2020) Text: Acts 4:1-31 Which verse (or part) of Acts 4:1-32 grabs your attention more than the rest? Why? What was the crime for which Peter and John were arrested? Talk about an experience you have had of sensing an opportunity (to speak or serve or do something dramatic for the Lord) that you took hold of? Political correctness has both a positive and a negative side to it? What might be some examples of both in our society? Why was talk of the resurrection of Jesus such a controversial subject amongst the early church? How do people today relate to the idea of the resurrection of Jesus? What might be some 21st century applications of v.19? How do you respond to Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:16-20? What might you do differently this coming week in response to considering these verses?
September 05, 2020
The Power to Heal
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 30th August 2020) Text: Acts 3:1-26 Describe an experience you have had, or have seen, of healing in response to prayer? When people saw the man healed it really got the attention of the crowd. What might happen if people in our day and age saw a healing/miracle? How would you explain a word like “faith” or the phrase “in the name of Jesus” to someone who was not a believer? How do you respond to those who claim that the age of miracles and healings is past—not for today? What was Jesus primary point in John 5:19? What was he getting at? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of Scripture?
August 29, 2020
The Aftermath of Pentecost
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 23rd August 2020) Text: Acts 2:42-47 If someone were to audit your life, what would they say that you were “devoted” to? (v.42) What kind of image do you think our church has amongst the wider community? What aspects of our community life are appealing or attractive to unbelievers? How important is it that they/we are? What experience have you had of the church sharing in the economic well-being of its members? How do you relate to the interdependent nature of the New Testament church? What are the implications for you? What can we do to make our church into a more relational community than a sterile institution?
August 22, 2020
The Conversion Process
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 16th August 2020) Text: Acts 2:37-41 If someone came up to you and asked what they had to do to become a Christian, what would you tell them? How much is belief and how much is action? What is an example of repentance in your life since becoming a follower of Jesus? What was the consequence or impact of doing so? Tell us about your experience of baptism in water? When did it happen? What did it mean for you? Given the meaning and timing of baptism in the New Testament how would you answer someone who wonders why many churches baptize babies? Have you ever had the experience of people praying for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit? What happened? What difference has it made? How important is the church (Christian community) to your understanding of being a follower of Jesus? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of Scripture?
August 15, 2020
Pentecost, Oh What a Day!
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 9th August 2020) Text: Acts 2:1-41 Why do you think the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened was timed for the Jewish festival of Pentecost? Was there significance to that? Visitors to Jerusalem heard the believers speaking words of praise in their native (vernacular) tongue. What experience have you had of being in a foreign language country and hearing someone speak your native tongue? How did it make you feel? Over the years some Bible teaches have drawn a distinction between the speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost and other references in the New Testament to speaking in tongues as a prayer/prophetic language. What do you think? When you read Acts 2 and all that occurred, are you more like the people in v.12 or the people in v.13? What is your experience of an empowering encounter (filling) with the Holy Spirit? Why do you think the subject of baptism/filling with the Holy Spirit has been controversial over the years? What do you consider the reason or point of being filled with the Holy Spirit is?
August 09, 2020
How to Respond to a Big Assignment
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 2nd August 2020) Text: Acts 1:12-26 What is your experience of being given (or accepting) a big responsibility/assignment? What did you do? What kinds of situations drive you to a time of intense prayer? Jesus’ mother and brothers were present. But they had formerly been unsupportive of his ministry. What do you think might have changed their view of Jesus and his mission? What is your experience of discouragement for your faith from members of your family? How do/did you respond? How do you respond to the way the initial believers sought to replace Judas? What might you do differently this coming week for considering this passage of Scripture? Watch this episode
August 02, 2020
The Acts of the Holy Spirit
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 26th July, 2020) Text: Acts 1:1-11 Jesus told the disciples to “wait” until they encountered the Holy Spirit. Why was that the case, and what is an experience you have had of having to wait for something? When you think of being a witness for Jesus, what kinds of activity does that describe? Picture yourself as on the people present when Jesus ascended into heaven. What do you think they saw or heard? V.6 would seem to suggest that the close followers of Jesus still didn’t understand the nature of God’s kingdom. How would you describe the kingdom of God to some wo wasn’t a believer? As a disciple (follower/learner) of Jesus, what is the impact of Jesus words in v.8? To which “Jerusalem” are you called are you called to bear witness to Jesus? How do you need the Holy Spirit to empower you? What will you do differently for considering this passage of Scripture?
July 26, 2020
Celebrate & Remember
Life Group Questions Celebrate and Remember: Deuteronomy 16:16-17 Sunday 19th July 2020 The feast of Passover occurs at the same time as the Easter observance. Discuss the similarities in meaning of the two occasions in terms of what God says to us through them. For example look at the theme of being saved in both. Pentecost in the New Testament is a first fruits celebration. In what ways is Pentecost in the New Testament another first fruits celebration. The feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles celebrated God’s goodness and provision. Discuss the theological role of tithing and offerings in the contemporary Christian world as a way of celebrating God’s goodness and provision. Is it really an act of worship or is it simply about keeping the lights going? Celebrating and remembering God. What are the opportunities to do this together in the contemporary New Zealand context? If we were to create a new celebration, what would it be, when would we do it, what would it look like and who would we invite?
July 19, 2020
Hear O’ Israel
Hear O Israel: Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Sunday 12th July 2020 Discussion Questions: 1. In Deuteronomy 5 Moses again presents the 10 Commandments. Lok through these and then compare with the account of the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20. Are there differences. 2. The text of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is called the Great Commandment. How does it get this title and do you agree? 3. The word Hear in the text has more meaning than the word Hear in English normally conveys. Discuss the complexities of the meaning behind Hear that is meant in the text.. 4. How do we live life loving God in all that we are? As a group discuss difficult situation you have been in where you have wondered if you got this right
July 12, 2020
An Invitation to Rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 5th July 2020) Text: Matthew 11:28-30 Why is it that in a world with more time saving gadgets and resources people complain of being more tired than ever? If Jesus were to enter our world (as he did 2000 years ago) what do you think might be his commentary on our Western “busyness”? What is an example of you doing something out of obedience to God, that wasn’t your first preference? How does God lead you or direct the path you take? How would you explain the phrase “rest for your soul”? How do you reconcile Jesus analogy of his “yoke” being easy with other statements he made about suffering persecution for being a Christian? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of Scripture?
July 07, 2020
Chunillal Pema: Get out of the Boat
Chunillal Pema 28th June 2020
July 07, 2020
Counting the Cost
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 21st June 2020) Text: Luke 9:57-62 Jesus never pulled any punches in explaining the cost of becoming one of his disciples. How does this compare with your introduction to the Christian faith? How honest or complete was the presentation of the gospel to you? Which one of these three people do you identify with the most? Why? What does v.58 mean for us today? If you had to explain the meaning of Luke 14:26 to a new/non-Christian, what would you say? What particular or specific challenge do these verses bring on your life? What are you going to do about it this week?
June 21, 2020
God's Selection Process
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 14th June 2020) Text: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Where do you think low self-esteem comes from? How does our culture contribute to our self-image? What experiences have you had of forming a quick impression about someone (or something) based on first appearances, only to find out later that your first impression was wrong? How important are our appearances? In our culture we put a lot of emphasis on a person’s past record of behaviour in determining their future potential. To what extent is this fair or unfair? How do you relate to the fact that David was left behind when his family went to meet with Samuel? From your personal experience, how might David have felt? What is the difference between a healthy self-image (where we know God can/does use us) and being proud? What are some practical ways that we can influence our culture towards looking upon people the way God does?
June 14, 2020
First Things First
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 7th June 2020) Text: Matthew 6:33 Time management theories abound in our society. What is the best way you have found to manage your time? If someone asked you to define your primary life goal(s) how would you respond? What is an example of how you “sought first God’s kingdom and righteousness” this past week? What can we do about the shifting goal posts of morals and ethics in our nation? How would you explain 1 Corinthians 6:19 to someone new to the Christian faith? WWJD – “What would Jesus do?” – how might this have bearing on your life in the coming week?
June 06, 2020
The Divine Potter
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 31st May 2020) Text: Jeremiah 18:1-10 What kind of “pot” best describes you? Kettles? Cracked pot? Frying pan? Cast-Iron? Flower pot? Fine china? Proverbs 1:7 talks about fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge. What do you understand to be a holy fear of God? How have you experienced God reshaping your life? What are some of the changes? Are God’s plans for your life set in “concrete” or in “soft clay”? In God’s remoulding work on your life, what chip/crack/bulge/ blemish would you like him to work on at the moment? How does this passage of scripture influence your Christian life this week?
May 30, 2020
Celebrating the Lord's supper
Why do we do what we do? So easy to follow patterns handed on from previous generations without really understand their point. This week pastor Brian unpacks what we do when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper . . . Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 24th May 2020) Text: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 The Corinthians church had a number of issues/problems, that Paul tried to address. What experience have you had of dysfunctional church? When you “look back” in the act of Communion what picture or image or memory most strongly comes to mind? When you “look forward” in the act of Communion—to the nLord’s coming again—what do you most eagerly anticipate? When you “look inward” (self-examination) during the Lord’s Supper do you judge yourself more harshly, or less harshly, than God might do? How does one “eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner”? What is the most significant challenge to you from Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24? What did James have in mind in James 1:26-27?
May 23, 2020
Conditions For A Miracle
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 17th May 2020) Text: Mark 10:46-52 Where did you first hear about Jesus? What impressed you the most? What might be a contemporary example of someone like Bartimaeus meeting Jesus? Jesus said that it was Bartimaeus’ faith that healed him (v.52). How did he demonstrate faith? What is the biggest challenge to you from James 4:2-3? How would you explain the meaning behind Jesus parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-5? What experience have you had of the “crowd” trying to quieten you down as you have followed Jesus? What is it about Jesus’ response to Bartimaeus that most impresses you? What would you most like Jesus to do for you?
May 16, 2020
A Mother Like No Other
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 10th May 2020) Text: Luke 1:26-38 In Psalm 127:4-5 the blessing of having children is likened to warrior’s arrows. How would you understand or explain this metaphor? What aspect of Mary’s visitation by an angel captures your imagination the most? Why do some people (even Christians) have difficulty with the idea of Jesus’ immaculate conception (born to a young woman still a virgin)? What kinds or types of people does God use in his purposes? Being at the centre of God’s will does not guarantee everything will go well for us. What is your experience of this? How does Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 5:10-12 make you feel? What might be something God is asking of you at the moment?
May 09, 2020
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 3rd May 2020) Text: Luke 19:1-10 Think back to before you became a committed follower of Jesus Christ. What, or who, was it that made you curious to find out more about the Christian faith? When Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus up the tree what do you think he saw? When the Bible says that God knows all about us (e.g. Psalm 139) how much does he know? How does that make you feel? What does 2 Corinthians 5:17 really mean? What has changed looked like in your life? Look again at what Zacchaeus did as an act of repentance for stealing from people. How do you relate to this? Does being a follower of Jesus Christ impact how we might have acquired wealth and luxury in life, and what might our response be? How does a verse like Matthew 3:8 challenge you?
May 02, 2020
Keeping a Sound Mind
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 26th April 2020) Text: Matthew 24:4-14; 1 Timothy 4:1-2 What are some of the alternative theories (conspiracy or otherwise) that you have heard for the Covid-19 pandemic, to that told by government/media? News reporting on doubters and sceptics (and conspiracy theories) of Covid-19 seem to suggest they are disproportionately from conservative Christian circles. Why is that the case? Many Christians have a negative view of news media, and assume they have a bias. Why might that be the case and is it justified? When someone shares with us a conspiracy theory, that doesn’t seem right/accurate, what should our response be? If someone were to ask you what you consider Jesus’ response might be to international efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, what would you say? How might we apply the apostle John’s advice (1 John 4:1) in “testing” the information we receive? What do passages like Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-15 say to our response to governments and rulers?
April 25, 2020
Lessons in a Storm
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 19th April 2020) Text Matthew 14:22-33 What are some of the “storms” that you have experienced in your life? What did they teach you? Why do you think Jesus sent the disciples into a storm immediately following such a heady experience of participating in the miracle of feeding 5000 people? How do you “consider it pure joy” (James 1:2-4) when going through times of trial? What are some of the lessons we can learn from Peter’s experience of walking on water (and sinking!) when Jesus came out to the disciple’s boat? What are some contemporary ways that we can “walk on water”? What are some “storms” that you are facing at present? Why do you think God is allowing you to experience them? What are you learning/doing in response?
April 18, 2020
Easter Sunday: Resurrected Hope
Discussion Questions Week commencing Sunday 12th April 2020 Text: Mark 14:27-31; 66-72 When in your life have you been most disappointed in yourself? How do you feel, realizing that Jesus knows your weaknesses and failures? Why do you think Peter saw himself as better and brighter than the other disciples (v.29, 31)? How would you explain Matthew 10:32-33 to someone new to the Christian faith? We all fail God at certain times, some more serious than others. How does God respond to our failure? In John 21:15-18 Peter is graciously restored by Jesus. What is your experience of being restored by Jesus after failure?
April 11, 2020
Good Friday message
A special Good Friday Message.
April 09, 2020
He Knows our Predicament
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 5th April 2020) Text: Hebrews 4:14-16 1. What do you understand by the phrase: “empathise with our weaknesses” (v.15)? 2. In what ways do you consider Jesus was tempted? Was it the same as we are today? 3. Our text compares Jesus to a Jewish high priest. How would you explain that concept to a new Christian? 4. What are some practical examples from your life of “receiving mercy and grace” from God? 5. What is your answer to those who question God’s goodness or power in the light of human suffering? 6. What will you do differently for considering this passage of Scripture?
April 04, 2020
Discussion Questions (Week commencing Sunday 29th March 2020) Text: Romans 10:13-15 1. Which part of Romans 10:13-15 impacts or challenges you the most? 2. How do you feel or respond to the challenge of global mission? Be honest! Some people are ‘far-sighted’ and only see mission overseas; others are ‘near-sighted’ and only see mission in our immediate vicinity. What is the right answer, and why? 3. Why do you think there is such an imbalance of personnel and mission-funding amongst the least evangelised parts of the world, compared with in countries that are highly evangelised? What can be done to correct this imbalance? 4. What does it mean to be/become a ‘world Christian’? 5. How do you respond to the quote from George Otis’ book: “The Last of the Giants” (Chosen Books, MI, 1993) p.228: “. . . while many nations of North Africa and Central Asia go begging for evangelistic resources, church workers from the United States are bumping into each other in airport baggage claim areas in Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines. In fact, the ‘mission’ experience of many US Christians today involves little more than being picked up at the airport by friends and transported to mission compounds or churches where they proceed to offer teaching to nationals who are already Christians . . .” 6. What are you going to do in response to this discussion?
March 28, 2020
Priority of the Poor
Want to watch this podcast? Todays message is also available on HCBC virtual church as a video. www.hcbc.nz/virtual Discussion Questions How do you feel about the suggestion that “God and the Bible has a bias toward the poor”? What do you reckon was Jesus primary point in telling this parable about the rich man and Lazarus? In Luke 16:13 Jesus made a radical statement about loving God or loving money. This is an easy statement if you are poor; how might it apply in a more wealthy context like ours? Some Christians believe those who are poor are in their predicament by their own foolish choices. How do you respond to that and does it change our sense of responsibility toward the poor? Consider the following Scriptures – what is the “take out” for you from each of them? Deuteronomy 15:7-8 Proverbs 14:31; 19:17; 22:9 Galatians 2:9-10 6. Who might the “poor man” in Jesus parable be in our day and age, and what might we do to help?
March 21, 2020
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: 1 Corinthians 12:4-27 1. Why do you think the Bible places so much importance on Christians serving or using their gifts? 2. Read 1 Peter 4:10. What are some examples of God’s grace being displayed to you through the spiritual gifts of another person? 3. How do people find out (discover) what their spiritual gifts are or where/how they can serve? 4. What do you understand to be your spiritual gifts? 5. What is God’s response towards people who do not volunteer or serve or employ their spiritual gifts? 6. What is the primary role of spiritual leaders in the church – in terms of mobilising Christians to serve? 7. If you were given a blank cheque and invited to do anything you wanted to serve the Lord what would you like to do? What stops you?
March 14, 2020
Life Group Discussion Questions Topic: Evangelism 1. Who was the most significant person in your decision to become a follower of Jesus? How did they influence you? 2. What is the best part about being a Christian for you? When the words “good news” are mentioned what really stands out to you? 3. What scares you the most about evangelism? Why? 4. What does 1 Peter 3:15 say to you? 5. Call to mind a not-yet-Christian in your circle of acquaintance – someone with no/little God-consciousness. Where would you need to start to present the good news to them? 6. How much information/knowledge does a person need to have in order to become a Christian? 7. What could/should we do with our church services to make them more “seeker-friendly?”
March 07, 2020
People of the Book
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 1. What is your favourite passage in the Bible? 2. If you were asked by a non-churched friend where they should start reading the Bible, where would you tell? Why? 3. How worthwhile is it (in your opinion) placing Bible’s in every motel/hotel room and prison cell, etc? 4. In what ways do you feed your spiritual soul from the Bible? 5. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 talks about the ways the scriptures teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness. What examples do you have of this in your life? 6. How has the word of God illuminated the “path” in your life? (Psalm 119:105) Share examples. 7. What are you going to do this week to make the Bible more a part of your life?
February 29, 2020
Offerings that Multiply
Lincoln Badger 2 Kings 4:42-44
February 22, 2020
Reformatting . . . like Jesus
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: Romans 12:2 1. If you had one minute to explain what it means to be a Christian what would you say? 2. What were the steps (or links in a chain) that led you to become a follower of Jesus? 3. In what ways have you experienced “being put back together” since becoming a Christian? 4. If Jesus is our model or template for life, how much like him is it really possible to become? 5. What are some examples of character issues in your life where you need to be “transformed” to be more like Jesus? 6. What value do disciplines like “attending church services” or “belonging to a small group” or “learning from what the Bible teaches” bring to your Christian experience? 7. What could you do this week that will help “train” you in your spiritual growth?
February 15, 2020
Christianity is a Team Sport
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: Acts 2:42-47 What are some examples of encouragement that you have felt from other Christians (like geese flying together) that has kept you going? Who is the most significant person(s) in your life in terms of your Christian experience? In what ways is the life of the church described in Acts 2:42-47 similar or dissimilar to ours? What might a historian write about the kinds of things Christians in our day and age are “devoted” to? How important is Christian community? Can a person be a Christian and not be linked with a Christian church (of some description)? Why do some people have a low view of Christian community and relationship? What can we/you do to enhance the sense of “koinonia” (Acts 2:42-47) in our church/small group?
February 10, 2020
Prepared to Serve
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: Ephesians 4:12 Tell about your experience with strategic plans and goal setting. How has it been helpful in your life? If you had to describe God’s strategic plan for the church what would you say? Why do you think God gives spiritual gifts to his children? How do you go about finding your spiritual gift(s)? How do you respond to the idea that “works of service” is normative for all Christians? What are some examples of people coming up with a brand new idea to serve the Lord that has proven to be hugely successful? In what ways can the church “prepare” you better for “works of service”? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of Scripture?
February 01, 2020
Older Brother Syndrome
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: Luke 15:25-32 Why do you think the religious leaders (mentioned at the beginning of Luke 15) were so concerned about Jesus spending time with “sinners”? How would you describe God’s attitude toward “lost” people in our day and age? Where does “older brother syndrome” occur in our day and age? How important is it to make the church as culturally relevant as possible to the people we want to reach? Is it possible to go too far in making the church culturally relevant? What could HCBC do to be more seeker-friendly to those looking for God? Where does/has “older brother syndrome” manifested you?
December 07, 2019
The Parable of the Loving Father
Life Group Discussion Questions Text: Luke 15:11-24 What do you reckon is the hardest thing about being a parent in this day and age? Why do you think God allows us the dignity of free choice? Why not create us pre-programmed to behave in certain ways? Given that Jesus’ parables were aimed at teaching a key point, what do you perceive to be the primary lesson Jesus had in mind in this parable? What experience have you had of turning away from God and returning to him? Why do some Christians struggle with self-forgiveness and accepting the face that God restores them? What would be contemporary equivalents of the ‘robe’, ‘ring’ and ‘shoes’ that the father put on his son (v.22)? What will you do differently this week for considering this passage of Scripture?
November 30, 2019