Why God • Part 1

It’s essential for us to know what we believe about God, but also why we believe in God. We’ve all struggled with doubts and sometimes wonder if it is all true. The more we study, the more evidence we find that points to God. Not just any God, but the God that Jesus Christ taught about and came to reveal to us. We come to have faith, not just faith because we were told, not faith that is just based on personal experience, not just faith because of some life altering encounter with God, but faith based on reason, logic, philosophy, and science.

 

1.  What was your biggest takeaway from the message this weekend?

2.  Have you ever been asked “Why do you believe in God”?  How would you answer someone who doesn’t believe or is struggling to believe?

3.  Pastor James said that everyone puts their faith in something. What do you see people putting their faith in, other than God?

4.  What are the ways you see faith in God as a commitment to trust based on evidence and reason, and not just a leap in the dark?

5.  Read Genesis 1:1. How does creation give us overwhelming evidence that something or someone was behind everything we see, touch, taste, hear and smell?

6.  What does active trust mean to you?  How is faith in God something we have a good reason to believe in?

7.  Read Romans 1:19-20.  What are the ways that creation reveals to us not only that there is a God, but also what kind of God He is?

Grace Beyond Walls

1. How ethnically diverse was the area in which you were raised as a child? What was the general attitude in that community about ethnic diversity?

2. As you watch the events in our culture over the last few years when it comes to racial divisions, what are your personal reactions to what you see?

3. Why do you think these issues are so polarizing in our current time?

4. Read Ephesians 2:11-18. According to verse 15, for what purpose did Jesus Christ die? 

5. What divisions were the early church battling?  How were these similar to what we face today?

6. What does it mean that Jesus came to “break down the wall of hostility,” and “create one new man instead of two?”

7. Read Ephesians 2:19-22. What parts of this text demonstrate the fact that God wants all believers to be unified?

8. In what ways does the analogy of God building a house show the beauty of His vision for His people?

9. Read Revelation 5:9-10. What clues do we see from this text that demonstrate the fact that Heaven will be a place of diversity?

10. Why do you think ethnic diversity glorifies God?

11. When someone looks at God’s people, they should see a picture of Heaven. What keeps us from living out this kind of unity and diversity as God’s people today?

12. What are some practical steps we can and need to take in order to make progress in this area?

Worth It • Part 3

When you live with an open heart and open life in giving you allow God to do incredible things through you. God is moving, and by giving, God actually does something in you, not just through you. 

  1. What was your biggest takeaway from this week’s service?
  2. Read John 5:6. The healing you are seeking and what is promised won’t be yours unless you want it. How was this true in the paralytic’s life? Share an experience when it was true in your own life as it dealt with your time or your finances.
  3. Paul’s words in Acts 20:35 are as true today as they were in the 1st Century. What are some practical ways you’ve experienced that it is more blessed to give than to receive?
  4. Read Proverbs 11:24-25. Share a time when you have been refreshed by someone else’s giving. How did this impact you? How did this encourage you to be a giving person as well?
  5. Share something from the 7-day Worth It devotional that God has used to impact your life this week. 

Worth It • Part 2

Sometimes we get caught off guard because we think that when we commit to follow Christ, to serve him and to live for him, everything will fall into place. But why does it feel like the moment we begin to live for His purposes everything becomes a struggle?  What do you do when you start stepping up, but then want to give up?

1. Has there been a time in your life when you stepped up to follow where God was leading, but then things didn’t turn out like you thought they should and you wanted to give up?  How did you see God work through those circumstances?

2. Read John 21:3-15.  How did you relate to what Peter was going through in these verses?  Can you share a time that you have given in to the temptation to ask “What about me?”

3. How did Jesus challenge Peter in John 21:15-17?  Did these verses challenge you with the idea that if we love God, then we have to care about what He cares about?

4. What is the difference between the bib and the apron mentality?

5. What are some of the ways we can be constantly reminded that, as a church, God has strategically placed us where we live, work, or go to school because He has a purpose for us?

6. How does understanding who Jesus is and why He is worthy shift our focus away from “What about me?” to asking “What can God do through me?” What is a practical way you can put this question into action this week?

 

We want to take the next 7 days to walk together through a devotional from God’s Word on generosity. All Christians desire to be a part of a movement of God, but find themselves having to move past some major obstacles in order to step into what God has for them personally. These next 7 days will encourage you that living for God is always Worth It!  You can access the devotional from the Journey App (search for the Journey - Florida) or on our website (thejourney.cc/soap).

Worth It • Part 1

  1. What was your biggest takeaway from the service this weekend?
  2. How have you seen God work and move this past year in our church and in your heart through Stepping Up?
  3. If applicable, share personal stories of how Stepping Up has been worth it.
  4. Read 1 Peter 5:6. Humbling yourself is never easy, but it’s always worth it. What is so hard about humbling yourself?
  5. Between creating excellent environments, reaching people who are far from God right where they are, and offering help and hope to those hurting the most, what are you most excited about regarding Stepping Up? With the mindset of reaching people where they are, how should this change your involvement in our church?
  6. While taking steps of faith are never easy, how can this group help you remember it’s always worth it?
  7. As a group, please spend some time praying for leaders (campus pastor for Deltona and ministry leaders for each campus), places to launch, and where God wants to use you.

IDK • Part 5

1.     Who was the best friend you’ve ever had? What made them so likable? Could you count on them to give you good advice?

2.     When faced with a difficult decision, do you tend to seek the advice of others or do you tend to make the decision alone?

3.     Read 1 Kings 12:1-21. Did the king (Rehoboam) do anything right in his decision-making process? If so, what did he do right?

4.     What mistakes did the king make?

5.     What was specifically wrong with the advice the king received from the group of young men in vv. 8-11?

6.     In what kinds of real-life scenarios do we encounter the following kinds of bad advice…ignorance? arrogance? self-centered motives?

7.     When seeking advice, what criteria should we use when deciding whom to ask?

8.     Why is it so easy for us to trust ourselves? Why is it so dangerous to do so?

9.     Read Jeremiah 17:9. It seems out of step with modern culture to believe the human heart is wicked. What does the Bible mean when it claims that the human heart is indeed wicked?

10.  Name a situation in your life in which you need to seek godly advice.

IDK • Part 4

This weekend we heard a story of trusting in God when there seemed no way. We saw how out of our brokenness God can make all things beautiful – more beautiful than we could ever imagine. He is always working, always living, even when we can’t see it.

 

1. What was your biggest takeaway from this weekend’s service? What was one way in which God spoke to you through the story you heard?

2. How did what you heard this weekend compare with your own IDK moments and how can this story encourage you during those  times?

3. What were some of the biblical principles within this story and how can you apply them to your life?

4. Read Romans 8:28. Often times, when we’re in the midst of difficult and challenging circumstances, it can seem as if there’s no way that God can redeem the heartache or mess we find ourselves in. Share a time where God worked something out for His good when it seemed like things were too far-gone.

5. Ephesians 2:1-10, Psalm 37:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 were a few of the verses mentioned this weekend. Read through these and share if any of these spoke to you this weekend.

IDK • Part 3

The more complex the decision, the more stress it creates. The choices we make will impact our life and our future. It’s no surprise that so many of us get scared to death to make a decision. We need some wisdom on how to de-stress our life when we face these IDK situations.

1. Read Matthew 6:25-27. Share some examples of how you worried and fretted over your circumstances. What has worrying about what to do actually done for you?

2. Read Matthew 6:28-32. This passage is such a vivid picture of how much God loves you and will provide all the things you need. How can trusting in what God knows allow you to rest in what you don’t know?

3. Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek God first and He will take care of the rest. He will take you exactly where you need to be. Do you struggle to really believe this and what steps can you take to overcome the worries of life?

4. How freeing is it to know that your decision to seek God first opens up the direction for your life? What tension comes naturally with this statement?

5. There are many times in our lives when we come to an IDK moment, a time when you really wanted and needed God’s direction. Share some of those times with your group. How can you seek God best in this area of your life?

6. Spend some time in your small group praying for each other, that you can be set free from the worries of this life.

7. God has given us His word to help us in our daily struggles. Memorizing scripture will help when you face difficulties. Memorize Matthew 6:33 and apply it whenever you need to be reminded of His unfailing love for you and His bountiful provision.

IDK • Part 2

Life is a series of choices. Every day we face decisions that impact our lives. Some decisions are simple; others are complicated. What do we do when we don’t know what to do?

  1. Read John 16:7-13. God wants to personally guide your life more than just give direction to your life. What would it look like for you to have God guide your life? Share some examples how this played out in your life.
  2. Jesus said He would leave this earth and send the Holy Spirit to guide and teach His people. Give examples of how you have sensed the guiding of the Spirit. Did you follow His lead? What were the results?
  3. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Psalm 119:105. The Word, the Bible, was penned by men as the Holy Spirit instructed them to do. Yet, so often, we try to take a shortcut and make decisions based on our own understanding. Why do you think God wants us to rely totally on His Word when making choices that affect our life?
  4. Read Philippians 2:13. Has there been a time when you knew God was working in and/or through you? Share about this time and the results?
  5. God created us. God is our wonderful Father. He only wants what is best for His children. His desire is to direct us in all our decisions. Is this a reality in your life? How can your group members help you on this road to totally trusting God?
  6. Your challenge this week is to pray: “God, I trust you to personally guide me as I follow wherever you lead.” Will you commit to doing this? Come back next week, ready to share how God worked when you submitted to His leading.

IDK • Part 1

Every day we make multiple decisions in life. Whether big or small, highly impactful or uneventful, the decisions we make form who we are. Some decisions are easy, but what do you do when the decisions are tough--when you get to that place where you say, “I don’t know what to do?

1. When growing up, did you ever witness a moment when your parents didn’t seem to know what to do? How did that impact you?

2. Read 1 Samuel 17:1-11. Have you ever been there? Where you are faced with giants and totally unsure which way to go? What did you do when that happened?

3. We all look for easy answers, a way to be in control or guaranteed success if we step out. Was there a time when you felt this way? What did you do?

4. Read 1 Samuel 17:24-26, 36-37. At times God will not explain the reason for what is happening but rather He is waiting to see your response to what is happening. How has your choice to trust God brought clarity so you could move confidently in your choices?

5. Psalm 25:1-5 is a wonderful scripture to read when you are faced with fear, doubt and insecurity about the future. As a Group, read and discuss how this can help in a time of struggle.

6. Read 1 Samuel 17:46-47. Try to picture this little shepherd boy facing a mega man and yet, boldly declares his God will give this giant into his hand. What giants are you facing today? What can you do when fear seems to overwhelm you?

7. When you trust God in your decision-making, He will always work in the decisions you are making. Share examples of when this was a reality in your life.

 

Pray this Prayer

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

Guide me, for my hope is in your all day long.

Psalm 25:1, 5

Under the Influence • Part 3

1.     It’s only natural for parents to plan their kids’ story for them. What kinds of plans do parents typically make for their children’s lives? What are the reasons for some of the plans we feel most passionate about for our kids?

2.     Read Matthew 22:35-40. What commands did Jesus say are most important for our lives? What does this passage teach us about our purpose in life?

3.     Read Genesis 22:17-18. In this passage, God promises Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. In what way does God promise his descendants will impact the world around them?

4.     Read Matthew 28:19-20. What mission did Jesus give to His followers in this passage?

5.     In these three passages, we see that we are created to make a difference in the world around us. What kind of difference does God want our families to make in this broken and hurting world?

6.     It’s easy for parents to focus on a story for our children that is not the same as God’s story for them. Why is this so easy to miss as parents? Why is it so important for parents to use their influence to help their children focus on others and not themselves?

7.     What are some practical ways for families to connect to God’s story in the world around us? What step is He leading you to take?

Under the Influence • Part 2

God has designed it so that parents play a huge role in developing and influencing their children, no matter what their age. One of the reasons we talk about the ways parents can influence their children, is because the depth of your relationship will determine the depth of your influence, and what you do with your influence will determine the health and wellbeing of your family.

1.     What is one way that being a parent is completely different than you thought it would be when you were younger? 

2.     Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9. How do these verses show God’s plan for parents to be some of the primary influencers in their children’s lives?

3.     How does the question “Who do I want my children to become?” bring clarity to what you are supposed to do with the influence God has given you? What are the ways this question can help you see beyond the present, and develop a vision for the person you want them to be?

4.     How does Deuteronomy 6:4-9 illustrate that parenting is more about who your kids are becoming than about what they’re doing? What are some of the ways these verses show you how to be intentional in encouraging your children as they pursue God?

5.     In your parenting, how do you clarify what is important, and focus your priorities on the things that matter most? How do you think your children would respond to this question of what is most important to you?

6.     Are there ways you can adjust how you respond to your children with your goals for them in mind, and not just react to them in the moment?

7.     Can you think of something practical you can do that will begin to influence who your children will become and how they will pursue God?

Under the Influence • Part 1

Every family faces obstacles that will push them and stretch them. If you are a parent, know someone who is a parent or had a parent, then you will agree that parenting can be a struggle.  What we find, throughout the Bible, is that there are no perfect parents or easy formulas, but God does give us some clear instruction and wisdom on how to parent well and how to deal with family issues.

  1. During your childhood, what did your parents do that you said you would never do when you had kids? If you’re a parent now, did it work out the way you thought it would?
  2. As a parent, how have you seen that you are the primary influencer in your children’s lives?  Do you worry about being the “perfect” parent?  What does the “perfect” parent look like to you?
  3. Read Ephesians 6:1-4. How do these verses show God’s plan for the family and the responsibility He gave to parents to influence their children?
  4. How are you living out Ephesians 6:2-3 in your life right now? What are the ways you are teaching your children how to obey and honor you through your own example?
  5. Read Ephesians 6:4. How can you shift from controlling to connecting so you don’t lose out on influencing your children as they get older?
  6. Communicate who you value, not just what you value. What are some of the practical ways you can communicate to your children that you value them, and not just their obedience?
  7. Lecture less to listen more. Would others describe you as a good listener? How can you take the time needed with your children in order to have quality time connecting?
  8. Constantly reengage with love. How does Ephesians 5:1-2 challenge you as a parent? How can the group pray for you as you continue to fight to influence your children for Christ?

Better Connected

2 Kings 5:1-14

We all have blind spots, especially in the areas that direct our life, and we all have the propensity to be oblivious to things that seem obvious to those around us. Do you wish that there was something that could have prevented you from making foolish decisions that only become obvious as foolish after you made them?

  1. Has there been a time in your life when you believed you knew what the correct decision was for you to make, and found out later that your friends or family had seen the obvious pitfalls that you missed?
  2. Read 2 Kings 5:1-12. How do our feelings have the power to make us oblivious to the things that are incredibly obvious to those around us? Can you think of a time in your life where you trusted your feelings and acted on them, and experienced regret?
  3. How was Naaman’s life impacted in 2 Kings 5:11-14 by someone who was willing to bring clarity to him? What do these verses tell us about the importance of the clarity that is brought to us through those in our community?
  4. How does Hebrews 3:12-13 illustrate that living by faith is more of a “we” thing than just a “me” thing? What are some of the ways you guard yourself from missing the obvious?
  5. Who are some of the people around you who have permission to bring clarity into your life? Have you ever considered that you might also be the person to bring clarity into someone else’s life?
  6. As a group member what has been the biggest impact of Life Groups on your life? Do you have friends or family members who would benefit from joining biblical community?

the Book of Mark – Part 6

Fear can feel like an unwelcomed, constant companion in our lives, paralyzing our actions, damaging our relationships and hindering our faith.  Everyone has to deal with fear, but how can we handle fear in a way that strengthens our faith and helps us see who Jesus really is?

  1. Thinking back to when you were a child or a teenager, can you share an experience of when you were afraid? 
  2. As an adult, what are you afraid of right now? What situation or experience are you going through that keeps you up at night because you know it’s too much for you to handle?
  3. Read Mark 5:21-24. How does fear wake you up to the reality that you can’t handle what you were certain you could?
  4. How does Mark 5:25-34 show us that fear can be used as a launching point for faith? Has there been a time in your life when fear brought you to the point that you realized that Jesus was the only one who could help you?
  5. Read Mark 5:35. Are there times when uncertainty tells you that there’s no point in taking steps of faith to go where God is calling you? Can you share a time when you listened to that uncertainty and missed out on what God had for you, or a time when you ignored that uncertainty and saw God work mightily in your life?
  6. Read Mark 5:36. Jesus’ words in this verse seem so simple, but what is it about the tension that fear brings that makes the experience of trusting God seem anything but simple.
  7. Mark 5:37-43 tells us that Jesus is the one who can handle what we can’t. What would it look like for you if every time fear wants to keep you where you are, you claimed that truth over your fear? Is there a practical step you can take this week to respond to fear with faith?

the Book of Mark – Part 5

  1. Name a time in your life when you looked forward to something so much that it consumed nearly all your thoughts.
  2. Read Mark 16:1-8. Which part of this narrative strikes you as the most profound? Which part do you find most interesting? What questions does it raise in your mind?
  3. Have you ever placed your hope in something, only to have it fail? If so, describe what happened and how you dealt with it.
  4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event in history that restores hope to humanity. The first way hope is restored in the resurrection is through forgiveness. How does forgiveness help restore hope inside us?
  5. The second way the resurrection restores hope is through the promise of heaven and being with Jesus again. How does this promise restore hope inside us?
  6. The third way the resurrection restores hope is through the power of purpose. The power of purpose simply means that there is purpose in our lives, that we do not live meaningless lives. How does the power of purpose restore hope inside us?
  7. Looking at questions 4, 5 and 6 above, which one of the three ways the resurrection restores hope is most helpful to you in your present stage of life?

the Book of Mark – Part 4

  1. Have you ever made an assumption about someone or something that turned out to be wrong? How did it work out for you? Share some examples.
  2. False expectations can blind us to the reality about a person or situation. Why is this the case?
  3. Everyone has some idea about who Jesus is. What are some of the most common answers you’ve heard people give about the identity of Jesus?
  4. Jesus clearly told the disciples He would die. Why do you think it was so hard for them to believe this? What assumptions did the disciples make about Jesus?
  5. Read Mark 11:7-10, Mark 11:15-17 and Mark 11:27-33. In what ways did these instances seem to go along with their expectations of how Jesus would show He was the Messiah?
  6. Read Mark 15:33-38. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn. What is the significance of this? What did Jesus’ death accomplish?
  7. Read Mark 15:39. Why is it surprising that a Roman Centurion declares the truth about Jesus’ identity, even when the disciples still didn’t get it?  
  8. Jesus’ purpose was to redeem even those who don’t make sense. Why is this good news for us?  
  9. How should this truth about Jesus’ purpose motivate us to reach those in our life who seem like they would never believe in Him?
  10. What is one false idea/expectation you once had about Jesus? In what ways did this keep you from understanding who He truly is? What led you to see the truth about Him?  

the Book of Mark – Part 3

  1. Who was your favorite super hero as a kid? What specifically did you like about him or her?
  2. How is Jesus similar to a typical hero or rescuer?
  3. How is Jesus different from a typical hero or rescuer?
  4. Read Mark 8:31-38. Why was it so shocking to the disciples when Jesus taught them that He must suffer and die?
  5. Read Mark 9:33-37. When we see the disciples arguing about who is the greatest disciple, it can cause us to roll our eyes in amazement that they were so self-absorbed. But in truth, we often struggle with the same thing. Describe a recent time in which you struggled with the reality of being self-absorbed.
  6. Read Mark 10:17-22. This young man went away sad because he was unwilling to follow Jesus by giving up something precious to him. This proved that he loved his riches more than Jesus. Do you struggle with loving anything more than Jesus? What is it? What do you think God wants you to do about it?
  7. What, in your opinion, is the most difficult part of following Jesus?
  8. What, in your option, is the best part about following Jesus?
  9. Read Mark 10:13-16. Why do you think Jesus loved children so much? What did He mean when He claimed that His followers must come to Him like a child?

the Book of Mark – Part 2

Large Group

  1. Which of the five characteristics of Jesus would you say you struggle with the most -- to ultimately accept? Explain. (Compassionate Healer, Profoundly Powerful, Victorious Over Darkness, Anti-Religion and Lord)
  2. When you or a loved one is sick, is your first inclination to cry out for healing from the Lord or call your doctor? Explain.
  3. Why should God's power be good news for us and lead us to live fearless lives? How can we train ourselves to renew our mind of God's goodness and power the moment we begin feeling fear and anxiety?
  4. Who in your life do you struggle to pray for regularly that you know you are called to pray for regularly? How does knowing that Jesus is ultimately victorious over the darkness affect your prayer life?
  5. Would you agree that Jesus is "Anti-Religion" and came to establish something different? Why do you think we struggle with basing our relationship and standing with God on our performance?
  6. Read Mark 8:34-38. What has been the most satisfying thing for you, personally, about living in submission to Jesus Christ? What has been the most difficult thing about living in submission to Christ?

Small Group

  1. What would the results of your "spiritual audit" be in the way you spend your time and the way you spend your money? Would the results reflect clearly that you believe Jesus is Lord?
  2. What is one step you can take this week to align yourself with living for the Kingdom of God in the way you spend your time and or your money?

the Book of Mark – Part 1

There are countless books out there on every imaginable topic on earth. Biographies can be very insightful as they will often not only describe someone’s life but will tell of their struggles and victories. They also tell the incredible people and events that changed their life. What if there was a biography that had implications for everyone on the planet and for you specifically? What if it had the potential to determine the direction of your life, no matter where you are right now?

Large Group

  1. What has been one of your favorite biographies or documentaries? Why? Did it impact your life and if so, how?
  2. Read Mark 1:1. The book of Mark is not only a book of the Bible but it is a historical document as well, an eyewitness account by those who were alive at that time. Why is it important to know this?
  3. Any document you read can be read out of context. You may have done that yourself and found yourself in a little trouble. Why is context important when reading the book of Mark?
  4. Jesus had a house full of siblings who didn’t believe He was who He said He was, at first.  What would your sibling or friends have to do to convince you that they were God?
  5. The question we all have to wrestle with is “Who is Jesus?” Does your life reflect your response to this statement? If not, what is keeping you from living your life for Him?
  6. Read Hebrews 1:3. Now read it again. How does the writer of Hebrews describe Jesus? What does this mean to us who live here and now?

Small Group

  1. Share with your group the moment you realize that Jesus really is who He says He is.
  2. Have you experienced doubts that every word in the Bible is completely true? How can you overcome your doubts?