Josh Lease, Student Ministries Pastor

John 10:1–6
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again,
“Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.”
John 10:7

In calling himself the gate, Jesus is saying he is our  

A gate is an to an area that would normally be closed off

“All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” – John 10:8–9

Jesus is portraying himself as the gate between and

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10

Through Jesus we can experience God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven

“You can grow into a person of happiness, even in times of great suffering. The kind of person who is not afraid of suffering or even of death, who is free of the emotional need for things to go your own way. You can fulfill your purpose. You can even learn to do many of the incredible things Jesus did. To see the signs of his kingdom manifest in your ordinary life. It’s possible-all of it.”
– John Mark Comer in Practicing The Way

The Lord God banished [Adam] from the Garden of Eden. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:23–24

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

What other gates are you trying to find life in?

Small Group Questions

  1. Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why? 
  2. How does hearing that Jesus is the gate make you feel? What do you think he means when he says he is the gate?
  3. In your understanding, what is Jesus is the gate to? 
  4. Where are you currently trying to find life? What doors are you using to gain access to life?
  5. How might you take Jesus up on his offer of being the gate to life and life to the full?
  6. What needs to change in order for you to organize your life around Jesus? 
  7. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

[Jesus] said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

Light: illumination that makes possible

A biblical description of light: 1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Light is (vs. 5)

Light penetrates and exposes (vs. 6)

Light (vs. 7)

John 8:12
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Without , there is no light.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Being light demands (vs. 14)

Being light requires (vs. 15)

Being light reflects the (vs. 16)

A caution to the “light bearers”: is the exposing light, not !

My personal assertion:
My light shines most brightly when I .

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Small Group Questions

  1. Did you watch the eclipse? Why or why not?
  2. Are you or have you ever been afraid of the dark? Why?
  3. Read John 8:12 and 1 John 1:5-7. What do you learn about the character of God through these verses?
  4. In what situations do you struggle to let your light shine? What causes you to cover the light when Jesus has asked you to shine?
  5. Have you witnessed a good deed that you know was connected to someone’s love for Jesus? What happened?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

Exodus 16:11–15
11 “The LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites, Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”
         
13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning, there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
         Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 

I am .

I am .

I can you.

I keep my .

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John 6:35-40
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

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Jesus answered,
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

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Questions

Who do you rely on for your soul sustenance?

Is God truly enough for you?

Will you eat of the bread that lasts forever?

Small Group Questions

  1. What did you do to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this past week?
  2. What’s your favorite kind of bread? Why?
  3. Read John 6. What parallels do you see between Jesus and bread?
  4. Grant pointed out four claims of Jesus: I am God, I am enough, I can sustain you, I keep my promises. Where have you seen God prove these claims to you in your own life? Is there one that you struggle with because God hasn’t shown up in the way you needed/wanted?
  5. What promise of God do you cling to in times to stress and trouble?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

Luke 23:32–42
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
         35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
         36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 
         38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the “King of the Jews”.
         39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

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40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
         42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

A word of forgiveness
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

A word of relationship
“Woman, behold, your son! . . . Behold, your mother!” John 19:26-27

A word of despair
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1

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A word of humanity
“I thirst.” John 19:28; Psalm 69:21

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A word of triumph
“It is finished.” John 19:30

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A word of reunion
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5

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A word of salvation
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

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Mark 16:2–7
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
         But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
         “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

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Small Group Questions

  1. What’s something you enjoyed about this Easter season? What did Jesus do in your life?
  2. Have you ever been treated like a criminal? What happened and how did you feel?
  3. What do you learn about your own salvation and theological perspective from Jesus saving the thief on the cross?
  4. Which word from the cross speaks to your heart today?
  5. How can you make your life count for the living Jesus in the coming week?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Emily Jamieson, Guest Speaker

 

Luke 19:28–44
28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

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32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
        34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
        35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

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37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

        39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
        40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

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41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.
        43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.

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Luke 23:26 (English Standard Version)
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

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Luke 9:23 (English Standard Version)
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

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Mark 8:34–37 (The Message Paraphrase)
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

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Only with Jesus is the way to .

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

A Story of Yes: Matthew 4:18–22

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him. 
       21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

God’s invitation to a potential disciple:
  • —leave your current location and join me on a compelling mission
  • —the opposite of lead
  • —a fisher of people (there’s a new goal)
John 1:43–51 (New Living Translation)

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.”
          44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. 45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
          46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
         
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
          47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”
          
48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.
          49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
          
50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

A personal invitation: “Come and .”

47 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”

This is a gentle but sarcastic moment. Jesus is having some fun!

48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
          Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you. 49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
          
50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

A heartbreaking statement you hear in the counseling world: Hurt people hurt people.

But when Jesus steps into the conversation:

Forgiven people people.

Healed people people.

Found people people.

Invited people people.

These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.
Acts 17:6b (New King James Version)

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13

Small Group Questions

  1. What did you do on the first warm day of this season?
  2. What do you think of when you hear the word disciple?
  3. Which of the three calls (Come, Follow, and Become) is the most compelling to you? Why?
  4. What is the main excuse you use for not inviting people into a relationship with Jesus? How can you partner with God to overcome that struggle?
  5. Read Nathanael’s conversation with Jesus. What stands out to you about how Jesus connects with this new follower? How can you apply Jesus’ strategy in your own invitations?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

Miracles happen when people say yes to God.

Ezekiel 3:14-15
The Spirit lifted me up and took me away and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit with the strong hand of the Lord upon me. I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Aviv near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days, .

Ezekiel’s Story

a scroll (Ezekiel 3:1–3)

Make a miniature (Ezekiel 4:1–16)

yourself (Ezekiel 5:1–4)

Be an (Ezekiel 12:1–7)

The emotional/human responses:

The faith-based/supernatural response:

!

4 Elements of God’s Call
  1. A calling (Ezekiel 2:1–7)
  2. Compelling (Ezekiel 3:10)
  3. The promise of God’s unyielding (Ezekiel 2:6–8 and 3:8–9)
  4. A personal vision of (Ezekiel 1:26–28)

Small Group Questions

  1. What are you most excited about with spring approaching?
  2. When was the last time you said yes and regretted it? When was the last time you said no and regretted it?
  3. Which of God’s requests to Ezekiel would you have struggled with the most? Why?
  4. Which of the 5 human responses listed above is the most likely to keep you from saying yes to God?
  5. How can you say yes to God this week?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Brian Behrends, Creative Pastor

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,
it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

MARK TWAIN

The

1 SAMUEL 17:4-7 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.

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The

1 SAMUEL 17:8-9 “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”

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The

1 SAMUEL 17:26 “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

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David Says

1 SAMUEL 17:32 “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

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Saul Says

1 SAMUEL 17:33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

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Speech

1 SAMUEL 17:42-44 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

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Speech

1 SAMUEL 17:45-46 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel…”

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The

1 SAMUEL 17:48-51 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
          So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
          David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
          When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran.

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Small Group Questions

  1. Tell us about a time in your life when you had to say yes to something that seemed daunting. What did you learn from that experience?
  2. Fear plays a significant role in the story of David and Goliath. How can we overcome fear in our lives, especially when facing challenges?
  3. How did David’s reliance on God set the stage for victory? How can we cultivate a similar trust in challenging times?
  4. How can we encourage and support others in our community who may be facing their own Goliaths?
  5. What is one thing God is inviting you to say yes to this week?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

Genesis 12:1–4
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
         and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
         and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
         and whoever curses you I will curse;
         and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.

God: I need you to , knowing that when you do,
is sure to follow.

Miracles happen when people say yes God.


Interesting side note:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49

God: I need you to , knowing that when you do,
I will what you lay down.

Look to Abraham, your father,
        and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him, he was only one man,
         and I blessed him and made him many. Isaiah 51:2

To where God wants you to go,
you have to where you currently are.

To all that God has for you,
you have to all that you’re currently holding on to.

Miracles happen when people say yes God.

Small Group Questions

  1. How many places have you lived in your lifetime? What did you love/hate about the experiencing of moving?
  2. Grant pointed out an often overlooked aspect of the judgement of Sodom. What does the verse in Ezekiel say to you?
  3. Read the epic story of Abraham and Isaac. What stands out to you about Abraham’s yes in the face of being a loving father?
  4. Where is God asking you to move in a step of faith? What is God asking you to lay down in an act of surrender? Will you say yes?
  5. What is God saying to you about this year’s Missions Projects? How will you move beyond good intentions to a solid yes?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?

 

Grant Fishbook, Lead Teaching Pastor

Revelation 21:3-5
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 
       
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”

Miracles happen when to God.

A Story of Yes from Acts 9:10–20
Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”

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         11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”

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         13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias…

His “yes, Lord” turned into a “”!

“But Lord…I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

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15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Miracles happen when to God.

17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”

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Small Group Questions

  1. What did you do for Valentine’s Day?
  2. What struck you about Shirley Storm’s life? What was God asking you as you watched her story?
  3. How do you picture heaven? What does the contemplation of heaven do in your spirit?
  4. Read the story of Ananias in Acts 9. What causes you to shift from “yes, Lord” to “but, Lord”?
  5. Where have you said no to God? What needs to happen to shift that answer to a yes?
  6. How can we pray for you right now and throughout the week?