King - The Story of David | Week 6

David wants to bring the Ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem, uniting the people in the worship of God once again. His goal was good and he had all the good intentions, passion, and sincerity needed. However, his first attempt fails because he doesn't do it God's way. After this attempt fails, David considers not following through with the mission. But soon, he decides to try again. This time, he completes the task because he does it God's way. David leads the processional of the Ark back into Jerusalem with joy and dancing (making his wife mad in the process). In this chapter we see both fear and joy going hand in hand. A proper fear of the Lord leads to greater joy, not less.

Action Step:

Write down one thing that God has called/asked you to do but you didn't follow though on because of the wrong kind of fear. Make it a goal this week to go back and do it.

Small Group Discussion Questions

Series:  King… the story of David (Part 6)

Texts:  II Samuel 6:1-16 and Psalm 24

1.  Why was it so important for David to get the Ark of God (the Ark of the Covenant) back to Jerusalem?  Why was this holy piece of furniture so important to God and his people?

2.  II Samuel 6:7 says that God’s anger was kindled against Uzzah when he touched the Ark and God stuck him down and he died.  Doesn’t that seem harsh?  Why would God do that?  What possible lesson was He trying to teach David and the people through the death of Uzzah?

3.  David’s goal was a good one.  He was sincere in his desire to honor God by bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem.  He had passion and zeal, but he wasn’t obedient in the small things (the details).  What lessons or conclusions can we draw from this as it relates to our lives today?

4.  Have you ever had passion/zeal and good intentions to do something for the Lord but maybe the way you went about it was wrong?  

5.  David’s first attempt at bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem was clearly a failure and apparently David almost gave up on the mission altogether (v.10).  Have you ever been tempted to give up on something God told you to do because of failure (or a fear of failure)?  What gave you the strength and courage to press on?

6.  David learned from his initial failure and the second time he moved the Ark he did it the right way (God’s way).  When failures happen in life (and they will happen) how can we learn from them?  What lessons have you learned from failures in your life?

7.  Healthy fear leads to greater joy.  In both II Samuel 6 and Psalm 24 we see this process of fear leading to joy… specifically, the fear of the Lord leading to joy in worship.  How might a healthy kind of fear in life lead to greater joy in other areas?  How do we distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fear?  What’s the difference?  

King - The Story of David | Week 5 "David Becomes Goliath"

We catch our first clear glimpse of a dark side in David, the golden boy. With hateful, careless words, David turns the city of God into a place of exclusion for inconvenient people. A thousand years later, Jesus, the son of David, cleans up David's mess.

ACTION STEP: Identify and work to include the inconvenient people in your life. Rejoice that while you’ll often make a mess of this, Jesus will clean it up.

King - The Story of David | Week 4

After David defeats Goliath he becomes really popular. The popularity of David begins to make King Saul angry and soon he seeks to kill David. While running for his life from Saul, David slowly has everything in his life taken from him. In I Sam. 21-22 we see David as a broken man. But God is doing something in the brokenness. He is creating in David a dependency on God that is necessary for Godly leadership. Also, David has a chance to kill Saul, but chooses to spare his life and wait for God to deal with Saul. In so doing, David teaches us two very important lessons in regards to walking with God... Brokenness and patience.

Action Step: Read Romans 12:17-21 each day this week. Instead of looking to get even, look for an opportunity to show grace to someone who has wronged you this week.

Small Group Discussion Questions 

Series:  King… the story of David (part 4)

Texts:  I Samuel 18:6-16; I Samuel 21:10-22:1; Psalm 142:1-6; I Samuel 24:1-7; I Samuel 26:8-11; Romans 12:17-21

1.  Have you had a season or moment in your life when you just felt bombarded on very side?  Like David, maybe you had some things (or people) in your life torn away from you.  Have you ever been through a season of brokenness where you just weren’t sure of God’s presence or plan?  

2.  In hindsight, what did God teach you through that season?  How did God grow you or shape you during that time of your life?

3.  Brokenness is often part of the pathway to spiritual growth and maturity.  Why do you think brokenness is often part of God’s plan to grow you and shape you?  

4.  Be honest… have you ever wanted to get revenge/vengeance on someone?  Why do you think that is such an impulse when we’ve been wounded or hurt by others?

5.  Read Romans 12:17-21.  What is the best example you’ve seen (or heard about) of someone overcoming evil with good?  How do we do that?  

6.  Have you ever treated an enemy with grace in a way they didn’t expect?  How did they respond?  Have you ever been treated with grace by someone you hurt in a way that you didn’t expect?  How did you respond?

7.  By killing Saul, David had an opportunity to accelerate God’s plan.  It would be like a shortcut for David to get to where God eventually wanted him (King over Israel).  Why not do that?  What might be the dangers in taking spiritual shortcuts to get to where God wants you?  

King - The Story of David | Week 3 "Five Smooth Stones"

David and Goliath is one of the most famous stories in the history of the world, and it's a story that dares us to believe in a living God who is active in the world and on our side.

Small Group Discussion Questions  

  1. We talked about how the ancient world was an enchanted place, which means it was loaded with spiritual agency; spiritual forces were at work everywhere, all the time. People believed relics contained spiritual power, spirits lived in the woods, and demons constantly possessed people.

  2. Why is it hard for us to think of the world that way? Why is it hard for us to believe the world is filled with spirits and spiritual forces?

  3. In what ways is it good and in what ways is it bad that we don’t tend to think of the world as an “enchanted” place where spiritual forces are constantly at work?

  4. Discuss: “Modern people believe in God, but we don’t really expect him to do anything. We believe in God, but we’d rather not have to depend upon God.”

  5. Why do we struggle believing God is on our side and fighting for us?

  6. How can that be a good thing and a bad thing?

  7. What would it look like to believe God was on your side in a healthy way? A way that didn’t assume you were more important than others? A way that didn’t assume that meant God will give you an easy, rich life?

  8. How do modern people like us recover the innocence of our belief, the ability to really believe that God is active in the world and on our side?

  9. What’s a situation in your life where you need help believing God is active and on your side?

King - The Story of David | Week 2

Israel's first King (Saul) certainly looked the part. He was wealthy, good looking, and tall. However, he disobeyed God and turned out to be a terrible King. In contrast, David was just a ruddy shepherd boy, but he was the one chosen by God to be the next King. As we're introduced to David in I Sam. 16 we learn that our identity doesn't come from others, but from God. David also shows us that hard work and humility go a long way.

Small Group Discussion Questions  

Series:  King… the story of David (part II)

Text:  I Sam. 9:1-2, I Sam. 13:13-14, I Sam. 16:1-13, I Sam. 16:17-19

1.  Read I Sam. 9:1-2.  Why do you think there is such an emphasis on Saul’s physical appearance in the text?  Have you ever prejudged someone, or formed opinions about someone based on their appearance?  Have you ever had someone prejudge you based on your appearance?  

2.  Read I Sam. 16:7.  What does the writer mean when he says, “the Lord looks on the heart?”  What does it mean to “look at the heart” of someone?  

3.  What are some of the problems/dangers of letting other people define who you are?  What does it mean to find your identity in Christ?  How do you do that?

4.  David worked hard and remained humble as a shepherd even after he was chosen by God to be King and anointed by Samuel.  What lessons can/should we learn from David’s example?

5.  Read Ephesians 1:3-14.  Take some time to name and discuss all the spiritual blessings Paul mentions that are ours “IN CHRIST.”

6.  The last spiritual blessing that Paul mentions in this part of his letter to the Ephesian church is that we are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”  What does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit as a believer?  

King - The Story of David | Week 1

Israel's first King (Saul) certainly looked the part. He was wealthy, good looking, and tall. However, he disobeyed God and turned out to be a terrible King. In contrast, David was just a ruddy shepherd boy, but he was the one chosen by God to be the next King. As we're introduced to David in I Sam. 16 we learn that our identity doesn't come from others, but from God. David also shows us that hard work and humility go a long way.

Small Group Discussion Questions  

Series:  King… the story of David (part II)

Text:  I Sam. 9:1-2, I Sam. 13:13-14, I Sam. 16:1-13, I Sam. 16:17-19

1.  Read I Sam. 9:1-2.  Why do you think there is such an emphasis on Saul’s physical appearance in the text?  Have you ever prejudged someone, or formed opinions about someone based on their appearance?  Have you ever had someone prejudge you based on your appearance?  

2.  Read I Sam. 16:7.  What does the writer mean when he says, “the Lord looks on the heart?”  What does it mean to “look at the heart” of someone?  

3.  What are some of the problems/dangers of letting other people define who you are?  What does it mean to find your identity in Christ?  How do you do that?

4.  David worked hard and remained humble as a shepherd even after he was chosen by God to be King and anointed by Samuel.  What lessons can/should we learn from David’s example?

5.  Read Ephesians 1:3-14.  Take some time to name and discuss all the spiritual blessings Paul mentions that are ours “IN CHRIST.”

6.  The last spiritual blessing that Paul mentions in this part of his letter to the Ephesian church is that we are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”  What does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit as a believer?  

King - The Story of David

Vista GO | World

Scripture shows that the Gospel is intended to be shared around the entire world. Being a witness to what Jesus has done in the world will mean that we are close to suffering.

Pray, Give, Go

Small Group Questions

  1. The word witness comes from the word “martyr”. What does that mean to you?

  2. What does it mean to suffer for the gospel in your context?

  3. Witness means to evangelize, and that can leave a bad taste. Why do you think that is? How do we still faithfully give witness to Jesus?

  4. Culture crossing is hard. Do you have a unique experience with that? Why is it important to cross cultures to reach people?

  5. What role will your Small Group play in global missions? Pray. Give. Go.

Take a moment to pray for our global partners.

Vista GO | City

Acts 1:8 is a mandate for missions and it seems clear that the plan, according to Jesus, is that missions should start with those closest to us. For our church that means our city. We want to love our city and be a church that makes an impact. As you look at the churches that were started in the New Testament, it's hard not to see the difference that they made in the cities they were in. We'll specifically look at how this played out in the cities of Philippi and Ephesus and then we'll look at some tangible ways we can make an impact in our city.

Continue to fill out your Neighbor challenge card from last week. If you didn't get one, there will be some available on your way out.

Small Group Questions

1. What does it mean for you to cause a “beautiful disruption” in your city?

2. Why should the church serve our city? How have you seen a church impact their city in the past?

3. What role do you see your Small Group playing in impacting our city?

4. Is anyone in the group interested in serving as a missions coordinator? This person would meet with our Missions Pastor, Jonah quarterly to discuss ways for your Small Group to serve.

Vista GO | Neighbor

Jesus gave us a simple, revolutionary plan to change the world: love your neighbor. When we love our neighbor, we love God, and we cannot love God without loving our neighbor.

  1. Do you know your neighbors? Like do you really know them? If yes, talk about what meeting and building a relationship with your neighbors was like. If no, what obstacles do you see preventing you from building a relationship with your neighbors?

  2. What do you think about the statement, “God hasn’t called us to love the whole world, but to faithfully love the people in front of us”? What would living that out look like in your life?

  3. Do you find that it is easier to “love everyone from a distance” than love the people in close proximity to you? Why might this be so?

  4. What do you see as potential opportunities for you to engage your neighbors this year?

  5. Do you feel comfortable sharing your faith with other people (such as your neighbors)? How can our group help each other to grow in our ability to share our faith with others?

Advent | Week 2 - Christ coming into our hearts

At Christmas, we celebrate an Advent (coming) that has already happened. As believers, we also look forward to a day when Christ will come again in the future. But there's another Advent that's happening right now, and that's the advent of Christ into our hearts/lives. Ultimately, from the moment we take our first breath to the moment we take our last, Christ is after our hearts. And when He comes into our hearts he wants to completely change us in some really beautiful ways if we'll let Him.

Small Group Discussion Questions

Advent (Part II) - Christ coming into our hearts

Text:  I Peter 2:4-5, Revelation 3:20

1.  As we’ve said over and over… "more than anything else, God is after our hearts.”  Do you remember what it was like when you first opened your heart to Christ?  Can you describe how that felt and what difference it has made?

2.  What are the marks of someone who’s heart fully belongs to the Lord?  How do you know if your heart really belongs to Him?

3.  Going off of the metaphor, “my heart is a home,” or “my life is a house.” - Some people seem to just want a “living room Jesus.”  What does that mean?  What’s the problem with that?  Is that enough?  

4.  When Jesus comes into our hearts/lives he begins the often painful work of changing us.  Can you think of an example of Jesus bringing about some significant (maybe even painful) change in a specific area of your life?  How did it happen?  How did it go?  What has been the result?

5.  Do you think Jesus can be Savior without being Lord?

6.  Going along with our action step this week… what area(s) of your life do you find most difficult to surrender (hand over) to Jesus?  What closets in the house that is your life do you really not want Jesus medaling in? How can you begin to give Him control in those areas?