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Central Speaks

Central Speaks

By Hamilton Central Baptist, NZ.
Hear our latest sermons as recorded at Hamilton Central Baptist Church, NZ.
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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 6, 2021
Paul’s Love Letter to the Philippians
Philippians 1:27b
January 30, 2021
How Elastic is God's Grace?
Acts 9:1-19
January 24, 2021
Philip, an Ethiopian & the Holy Spirit
Acts 8:26-40
January 16, 2021
The Divine Light
John 8:12
January 9, 2021
Preparation for Service
Isaiah 6:1-8
January 2, 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
John 12:20-26
December 6, 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 7, 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
Stormy Faith
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
Normal Christianity
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 5, 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 9, 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 2, 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 7, 2020
Chunillal Pema: Get out of the Boat
Chunillal Pema 28th June 2020
July 7, 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 6, 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 9, 2020
Unexpected Encounter
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 2, 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 9, 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 4, 2020
Global Reach
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. 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
Contagious Christianity
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 7, 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 1, 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 7, 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