Psalms 24:1 (NIV)

The Truth of a Chosen Life:
It’s not about what you don’t have but what you have been entrusted with.

Matthew 25:14–15a (ESV)

⇒ Beware of the curse of for it will kill progress.

Matthew 25:15 (ESV)

Question:
Do you live in the land of “lack” or in the Kingdom of abundance?

⇒ This is only a .

Matthew 25:16–25 (ESV)

⇒ Disobedience is directly connected to fear that is rooted in doubt of the of God.

Matthew 25:25 (NLT)
Matthew 25:24b (ESV)

⇒ Reward is based on , NOT success.

Matthew 25:23 (ESV)

Closing Question:
Beginning today, what is a small step of faithfulness you can take that will lead to greater impact and reward one day?

 


 

Theme: Talent Shows

Share Together:

If you received a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would do with it? Why?

Read & Discuss Together: Matthew 25:14-30
  • What do you think the purpose of the Master was to go away?
  • What happened to the two servants who doubled their investment? Why did they receive such a reward?
  • Why did the servant with one talent hide his talent? Why was Jesus so hard on him?
  • As we view “The Master” in the story as God, how is fear connected in doubting the goodness of God? Explain why?
  • How would you have felt to be one with 5 or 3 talents?
  • How would you have felt if you were one who received only one talent?
  • How is it difficult not to compare yourself with others who have more than you? How did you struggle with comparing yourself with others? In what ways?
  • Have you ever felt like the last servant in the story who didn’t use his talent because of fear? Give an example, and why did you think you were fearful?
  • If the Master returned today, what would he say about the way you’ve used what he gave you? How would you like to improve?
  • Lately, how have you been challenged to be faithful in the “small things?” What small steps do you need to take or keep taking? What do you need prayer for?
Pray Together:

Share the good things God has done in your/others life, and pray for one another of the needs that you have.

Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)

Question: Do you ever feel “off?”

The Truth of a Chosen Life: Joy is not based on a single moment but rather a constant choice to trust in an optimistic future.

Habakkuk 3:17–18 (NLT)

Rejoice is a choice when we put:

⇒ Prayer over .

Question: Is your first reaction to bad news panic or prayer?

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

⇒ Mind over .

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

⇒ Practice over .

Philippians 4:9 (NIV)
James 1:2–4 (NIV)

⇒ Contentment over .

Philippians 4:10–12 (NIV)

⇒ Trust over .

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Closing Question: Have you found what this world can never ever offer you?

 


 

Theme: The Secret of Contentment

Share Together:

What has been the happiest or most content season of your life? Why?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message, and what next step do you think you are to take from what you experienced?

Read & Discuss Together: Philippians 4:4-13
  • How does rejoicing in the Lord and knowing God is near help towards our attitude in being content in all circumstances of our lives?
  • How is worry and discontentment related, and how is prayer an answer to help our anxiousness assist us to transcend our understanding and provide for us?
  • How does Paul encourage us to be proactive in our “thinking of such things” to help find true peace and contentment when we put them into practice? What would be an example of this in your personal experiences?
  • Many people believe they can only be content once they have reached a certain level of economic or social prosperity. How does their view differ from Paul’s example of secret contentment v.11-13, even from a prison?
  • What outside force is most likely to upset your contentment? Since God doesn’t always change our negative circumstances, what can he change in you so contentment is still possible?
  • Re-read v.13. How do you need the strength and provision of Jesus in your life today so that we can pray as a group?
Pray Together:

Share the good things God has done in your/others life, and pray for one another of the needs that you have.

Psalm 139:13–16 (NIV)

Question: Do you ever feel “off?”

The Truth of a Chosen Life: Forgiveness is the circuit in which the grace of God flows.

Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

Job 5:2 (GNB)

From bitter existence to reconnecting with God’s Grace:

 it.

Hebrew 12:15a (NIV)

Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV)

 it.

Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)

Question: Why is it so difficult for us to forgive?
  • We fear that if we forgive, we will lose our sense of control.
  • We fear that if we forgive, we are excusing the hurt that it has caused.
  • We fear that if we forgive, we will experience more pain in the process.

 it.

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Closing Question: Does your heart have faulty wiring?

 


 

Theme: Bitter to Better

Share Together:

Share a time when you accidentally offended somebody, or you were offended, and ended up in a misunderstanding. What was the result?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message?

Read & Discuss Together: Hebrews 12:15
  • Why is bitterness described as root?
  • What does bitterness do to a person and those around them?
  • How can we miss the grace of God due to harboring bitterness?
  • How can we “see to it” to remove bitterness from our lives?
Read & Discuss Together: Ephesians 4:31-32
  • What does the Bible say we should do with bitterness and the other issues listed? How do we do this?
  • Verse 32 lists some positive attributes that we are to be. Talk as a group over the meaning of each and how it relates to overcoming bitterness.
  • How does overcoming bitterness free us to experience the flow of God’s grace in our lives?
  • How is knowing the depth and extent of what Christ did to forgive us help you forgive others?
  • How have you struggled to overcome bitterness, and where are you in the process of forgiving someone who has hurt you?
  • How can we pray for you?
Pray Together:

Share the needs you or others have, and how God has answered prayer.

1 Samuel 18:9 (NIV)

Truth of a Chosen Life: A true friendship is not formed by the click of a request but through a covenant relationship.

1 Samuel 18:1, 3-4 (NIV)

Question: What are you looking for in a close friend?

Some characteristics of a covenant friendship:

⇒ True friendship is to another person regardless of their response back.

1 Samuel 18:3 (NIV)

Covenant (בְּרִית) “Berith”
determination, stipulation, a pledge, an obligation between nations, individuals, families.

Deuteronomy 7:8 (NIV)

1 John 4:10 (NIV)

Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

⇒ True friendship is  through the sacrifice of ourselves for the sake of it.

1 Samuel 18:4 (NIV)

1 Samuel 23:17-18 (NIV)

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Just walk beside me; and be my friend.
– Albert Camus, writer & philosopher

⇒ True friendship is only when tested through trials.

1 Samuel 20:41b-42a (NIV)

Today’s Challenge: Choose friends that are life giving, not life draining.

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

John 15:13-15 (NIV)

 


 

Theme: A Friendly Business

Share Together:

Who was your best friend growing up? Are you still in contact with them today?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message regarding the unique covenant friendship that Jonathan and David had? How did it encourage and challenge you in your personal relationships?

Read & Discuss Together: John 15:1-16
  • What is the significance of the vine imagery that Jesus chooses to describe our relationship with him in these verses and why?
  • What does Jesus mean when He says “remain or abide?” What does it mean to personally have a friendship with Jesus?
  • What does Jesus mean that “apart from me you can do nothing” in v. 5? Do you have an example in your life that you tried to do this?
  • What are “fruits” or results of being connected? What is the key to avoid being disconnected?
  • What is the “greater love” that Jesus is talking about?
  • How do we remain in his love?
  • In what ways do you try to stay connected with Christ? When have you felt disconnected? Why?
  • How is our friendship with Jesus helpful in knowing the Father’s will?
  • How do you learn from your friendship with Jesus to help you have life giving friendships and also help you with boundaries of life draining relationships?
Pray Together:

Take time to share the good things God is doing in your life and to pray for “life giving” friendships you are needing help with as well as other prayer needs in your group/family.

2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Question: Have you ever had to make a life-or-death decision?

In Living the Chosen Life: Life is not up to chance but of choice, and you must choose it!

Deuteronomy 30:11-31:1 (NIV)
1 Peter 2:9-10a (NIV)

⇒ We choose life or death by the we dwell on.

Job 31:1a (NIV)
Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

⇒ We choose life or death by the we speak.

James 3:9 (NIV)

⇒ We choose life or death by the we take.

Romans 6:23a (NIV)

Question: Is the choice I am about to make going to be life-giving or life-draining?

Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right. Romans 5:18-19 (MSG)

 


 

Theme: Set Before You

Share Together:

What is something you desire to experience in 2023?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message, and how were you able to apply your life this week?

Read & Discuss Together:

Deuteronomy 30:11-20

  • What do you understand is happening at this point of the Exodus journey with Moses and the people?
  • What seems to be the anticipated objections Moses is trying to call out according to what he says in verses 11-13?
  • What do you think Moses means by what he says in verse 14, about how people can find God’s word? How does that relate to growing in knowledge and truth?
  • What choices is Moses setting before the people in verse 15? How will the people show the choice they have made? How do these choices relate with your life?
  • Based on verse 16 and what Jesus says in John 14:15, how is the loving God related to obeying his commandments? What are the consequences of obeying or not obeying that you can relate to in your walk with God?
  • According to verse 19, who are the witnesses and what does that mean?
  • What is it about what Moses says that implies the people are about to make a life-or-death decision?
  • What does Moses mean by “choose life?” What does that mean to you personally?
  • In practical terms, how are the daily decisions we make not just about right or wrong, but a choice between life and death?
  • What example do you have in your life that relates to what you think, say, and do in the context of the environment you are in and people you are with?
  • How can we be “life giving” and not “life draining” people as individuals and as a community?
Pray Together:

Take time to share the good things God is doing in your life and to pray for “life giving” decisions you are needing to make, as well as other prayer needs in your group/family.

Matthew 1:18-21 (NIV)

⇒ Pleasing God breaks attachments to other people’s .

⇒ Choosing God’s way may means facing .

Matthew 1:24 (NIV)

⇒ Faith is the we take by trusting God to take care of the details.

Matthew 1:25 (NIV)

Encounter Christmas Practice: Be Present in your decisions.

 


 

Theme: Following the Steps of the Stepfather of The Savior

Share Together:

Why is there so much stress in the season that is called, “The Most Wonderful time of the Year?”

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message, and how were you able to apply this week’s Spiritual Practice?

Read & Discuss Together:

Matthew 1:18-25

  • What can you imagine were Joseph’s initial thoughts and feelings when he heard the news that Mary was pregnant?
  • How does the Bible describe Joseph’s character and his initial intention to follow tradition and do the “right thing” by divorcing her? What cultural pressures do you think he faced?
  • How can you relate with the pressure Joseph felt, contemplating the ramifications of a tough decision? Give an example and the results of this decision.
  • What caused Joseph to choose to continue plans of marriage to Mary?
  • The scripture does not speak of the response of others to Mary and Joseph leading up to Jesus’ birth. What would you speculate were the challenges and criticisms from others?
  • What can we learn from Joseph’s situation that will help us determine God’s will, especially when we face a tough decision that forces us to choose between pleasing others, ourselves, or God?
  • How does God reward us when we choose to step out in faith even when it is unpopular?
Pray Together:

Take time sharing needs this holiday season that need prayer.

Luke 1:26–38a (NIV)
Luke 1:41–47 (NIV)

Let’s be carriers of His presence through:

⇒ Joyful .

Luke 1:47–52 (NIV)

⇒ Genuine .

Luke 14:11 (NIV)
Luke 1:53–55 (NIV)

⇒ Spiritual .

The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is
being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical
diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair,
and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are
dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a
little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty
— it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality.
There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.
A Simple Path, Mother Teresa

Encounter Christmas Practice:

Be Present in delivery.

 


 

Theme: Impossible Possible

Share Together:

What was the most unexpected gift you have ever
received?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message
and what are your next steps to be present with others this week?

Read & Discuss Together:

Luke 1:26-38

  • How do Gabriel’s words to Zechariah (Luke 1:13-17) compare– to his
    words to Mary? How are Zechariah’s (v. 12 & 18) and Mary’s (v. 34 &
    38) responses different?
  • What do you think it was about Mary that led God to choose her to
    give birth to the Savior of the World? How did her qualities prepare
    her for her future as the mother of Jesus?
  • Which of Mary’s character qualities do you find important and want
    to emulate in order for God to use your life in significant ways?
  • What risk was being asked of Mary, and how was her response
    faith-filled?
  • What has been an unexpected challenge or opportunity God has
    given you that seemed so impossible? How did you respond and what
    was the result?
  • What are some current challenges or opportunities that seem
    impossible? How are you responding to God regarding them? How
    could you use prayer for the challenges or opportunities you are
    facing?
Pray Together:

Take time to pray together as a group/family for not only
yourselves, but for those who are facing unexpected challenges this
holiday season.

Luke 1:5-7 (NIV)
Luke 1:8–10 (NIV)
Luke 1:11–13 (NIV)
Luke 1:14-16 (NIV)
Luke 1:17 (NIV)
Luke 1:18 (NIV)
Luke 1:19–20 (NIV)
Luke 1:21–22 (NIV)
Luke 1:64–66 (NIV)

Preparing to encounter His presence this Christmas: 

ᐳᐳᐳ God does some of His best work in our

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

ᐳᐳᐳ Being will eventually lead to fulfillment.

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV) 

ᐳᐳᐳ Expect disruption but anticipate .

This Week’s Encounter Christmas Practice:

Be Present in Prayer.

 


 

Title: The Waiting Game

Share Together:

Where do you have the hardest time waiting?

Reflect together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday gathering and what are the next steps you feel God is leading you this holiday season?

Read Together:

Luke 1:5-25 & 64-66

Discuss Together
  • Based on the characteristics Luke describes in verses 5-7, why were Zechariah and Elizabeth a good fit for God’s plan to bring about the Christmas story? 

  • What feelings must the couple have had in light of their barrenness? 

  • In what ways have you felt spiritually barren? In other words, how have you felt emptiness or longing that wasn’t or hasn’t been fulfilled? 

  • What was God’s purpose in making Zechariah mute until after John was born?

  • How do you relate with Zechariah as he struggled with doubt in trusting God’s truth and purpose? 

  • How does Elizabeth’s response in verse 25 model and inspire you to trust in God’s promises when there is a delay of fulfillment in your life?

  • How is God’s timing so important as it relates to His will? What does he teach us in our waiting?

  • How would the birth of this son affect Zechariah and Elizabeth?

  • How would you describe John’s mission in your own words? 

  • What do you imagine were the thoughts and feelings of people about Zechariah’s condition after leaving the temple, and then when John was born? 

  • How is John’s mission a model for your mission today? How might you “prepare” people for the Lord? In what practical ways could you “be present” in the coming week or throughout the Christmas season?

Pray Together: 

Share your needs and also ways God has answered prayer in your group.

Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Hands of Hope Malawi: The Mission

To bring together churches situated among people living in situations of poverty, powerlessness and oppression, with churches from affluent parts of the world in order to provide training, opportunities, and resources for the youth of Malawi to help empower them and raise them out of poverty.

Website | Facebook | Instragram

 


 

ThemeDouble Blessing

Share Together:

What was a “must” tradition or food at your thanksgiving table growing up and has it change today

Reflect together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s “Thanks and Giving” gathering and next steps you feel God is leading you this holiday season?

Read Together:

Luke 17:11-17

Discuss Together:
  • Of all the different ways Jesus healed people why didn’t He heal the lepers instantly? 
  • Verse 14 says “as they went, they were healed” how does that relate with you regarding the type of healing God provided for you? Why doesn’t God always heal us not only physically but emotionally and many other ways instantly?
  • Why was there only one that came back to returned thanks? What do you think their excuses were if we interviewed the other nine? 
  • What excuses can we give for not thank Him for what He has done in our lives?
  • What was so significant about Jesus’ pointing out to the one leper who returned to give thanks? Why did Jesus make the point he was Samaritan? 
  • What did He receive from Jesus that was different then from the other nine?
  • What does that teach about the blessing of having grateful hearts?
  • How can we be “The One’s” who returned to Jesus to live a life gratefulness to bless others? 
Pray Together:
Take time to share the good things you are grateful for, and that God is doing in your life. Pray for one another of the needs that you have as we head into this holiday season.

Genesis 25:22–23 (ESV)
Genesis 39:1,5-6, 20b-23 (NIV)
Genesis 41:16, 38-40 (NLT)

Today’s Core Truth:

When you know God is with you, no matter what, that is all that matters.

⇒ God is with you in your hopes and .
⇒ God is with you when you are and rejected.
⇒ God is with you in your .
⇒ God is with you to give you the and strength to forgive.

Genesis 45:4a (NLT)
Hebrews 12:15 (NIV)

⇒ God is with you for His greater .

Genesis 50:15
Genesis 50:19-20(NIV)
Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Question:

How do You desire for God to be WITH you in the living room of your life?

 


 

Theme: Forgive but Forget?

Share Together:

When has there been a time when someone gave you a break? Such as: you owed them money, they excused you from failing on a commitment.

Reflect together:

What impacted you the most from last week’s reading that you expressed in your Genesis Growth Guide also well as learned from last Sunday’s gathering and as the series ends what was your overall experience like?

Read Together:

Genesis 50:15-21

Discuss Together:
  • Joseph’s brothers that abused him and sold him as a slave now come in need of him and pledging for forgiveness. What emotion do you think they were feeling and why?
  • How does Joseph respond and reassure them?
  • Where did that ability to respond in the way he did come from?
  • Why is verse 20 so significant, and in what ways does it speak of revising our story of pain to become powerfully redemptive?
  • When has been a moment in which those that hurt you have come in need and want you to not only forgive them but help them? How did you respond? When has the situation been flipped and you were needing forgiveness? What happened?
  • We know we are called to forgive others as Christ’s followers, but is it possible to forget, or should we? Why or why not?
  • How does forgiveness benefit us? How come it’s so hard?
Pray Together:

Share how God is answering prayer as well as prayer requests. Take time to pray for each other.