Woes and Lament

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

Jesus commands his disciples not to be called “Rabbi,” “father,” or “instructor.” Is Jesus prohibiting the use of all titles within the Christian community (e.g. “pastor” or “elder”)? If not, what exactly is he prohibiting?

Jesus’ seven woes for the Pharisees and teachers of the law are (paraphrased):

  1. They keep themselves and others out of the Kingdom of God
  2. They convert people to the wrong kingdom
  3. They manipulate the truth using religious language
  4. They obey on surface matters but not on more important matters
  5. They desire to appear generous but are greedy and self-indulgent
  6. They desire to appear pure, but they are full of wickedness
  7. They desire to appear receptive to God’s Word, but they have murdered and will murder God’s messengers

Which among these are the most prominent moral failures among Christians today? Why do you think the Christian community struggles with these issues?

Jesus’ lament in Matthew 23:37 indicates his heart of compassion, even for the most hypocritical and morally suspect members of the religious community. How has God’s compassion and forgiveness ministered to you personally?

In 2 Corinthians 4:2, the apostle Paul renounces “disgraceful, underhanded ways” and commits to an approach to sharing the gospel that he describes as an “open statement of the truth.” Why is that approach so important? What is lost if we do not take that approach?

Four Last Questions

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

People come to faith in Christ through various means, often a combination of subjective experiences, rational consideration, relational connection with believers, and many other ways. How did God draw you to faith? In what ways have you seen God draw others to faith?

In Matthew 22:15-46, the Pharisees and Sadducees had hostile intentions. They were trying to trap Jesus. In most cases, Jesus’ responses seem to be kind, gracious, and even somewhat formal and academic. Yet, it seems like he gets in a couple jabs (see verses 18 and 29). Why might he do this? Is he angry? Is he being intolerant of other’s views?

Both Jesus and his questioners demonstrate a good amount of knowledge of the Old Testament. For that reason, Jesus’ rebuke for the Sadducees in verse 29 seems strange. What might be missing from the Sadducees approach to the Scriptures?

In light of Proverbs 1:7, what steps can we take to build our understanding of the Old Testament and the power of God?

The Wedding Feast

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

Obviously, tacos are the best food. What is the second best?

In the parable (Matthew 22), many of those invited to the wedding feast were offended by the invitation. What kinds of things tend to offend people about Christianity?

When was the last time you saw someone genuinely panicked, depressed, or enraged? What were they trying to defend?

Read James 2:14-26. How does James characterize the relationship between faith, righteous deeds, and salvation?

There are over 6,000 souls in Nuevo, CA (and probably at least as many in your town). What barriers might keep them from receiving an invitation to the Feast? How can we help overcome those barriers to present the gospel?

Broken or Crushed

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Matthew 21 shows a fairly aggressive side of Jesus. With those who were needy, disabled, marginalized, and immature, Jesus has been very compassionate. Why do you think Jesus was so confrontational with the religious and community leaders? Is this out of character?

The way to identify a “cornerstone” in your life is by how you react when it is threatened. If your cornerstone is shaken, you will be driven to panic, depression, or rage. What are some functional cornerstones in your life?

Read Hebrews 12:28. What are some practical ways we can respond to the gospel in worship? What are some of the worship opportunities listed in Romans 12:1-15:13?

The Royal Parade

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

Have you ever ridden on a donkey? Something close? A cow? An ostrich? A Ford Pinto?

When Jesus cleansed the Temple, the crowds did not put up a fight. Why might this crowd be eager to welcome his religious reforms?

Jesus cleansed the Temple because people were practicing idolatry alongside the worship of Yahweh. Compare Jesus’ words in Matthew 21:13, with the parallel account in Mark 11:17. What’s the difference? Now read the text Jesus was quoting in Isaiah 56:1-8? In light of these texts, what is the specific idolatry that Jesus is correcting?

How is this idolatry evident in our culture today? In churches? In families?

How can disciples of Christ demonstrate the religious purity Jesus requires?

The Road to Jerusalem

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

Tell a story of a time when your life went through a significant change in a single moment.

What are some religious rituals you cherish and look forward to? Why?

The passage shows a distinction between someone’s immediate physical needs as well as their eternal spiritual needs. How does Jesus respond to each of these needs?

What are some practical ways that Christians can minister to those who are marginalized in our community?

In what way has God made a “Crazy Ivan” in your life? How do you think he is likely to do so in the next few months?

The Upside Down Kingdom

Zoom Meetings:

Tuesday, 7pm, facilitated by Hannah Baehr

If you’re interested in having your discussion group listed here, contact Pastor Steve

Discussion Questions:

Have you ever had a job for which you felt under/overpaid?

In Matthew 20, The early workers complained against the landowner because they felt they were being treated unfairly, but it was the landowner’s decision to be generous with his resources. If God is represented by the landowner in this parable, what does this teach us about the character of God?

Read Ephesians 2:4-9. How do these verses add to our understanding of God’s generosity toward us? Since we are recipients of this grace, what are some practical ways we show others this same generosity?

In Matthew 19:20-28, James and John asked to be regarded as great in the Kingdom of God. But their request showed that they misunderstood the upside down nature of the kingdom of God. In light of these verses, how do you think Jesus would define greatness in the kingdom of God? How does that differ from greatness in other kingdoms?

Read Philippians 2:3, and 3:17-20. What are some heroes in your life who continually think of others as more important than themselves, who live as servants of the cross of Christ, and set their mind on the Kingdom of God?

In light of what the passage says about the “upside-down” Kingdom of God, justice and grace, and servant leadership, how should Christians respond to the events in Washington D.C. last week?