This is Us - Part 1 - Community

Salvation isn't just about believing some things in your heart so that you can go to heaven. Salvation is also about joining a family (community) of faith where you're on mission together building the Kingdom of God. Community is essential to being a Christ follower for several reasons and there is an inseparable link between your faith in Jesus and your love for his family (the Church).

Text:

Ephesians 4:11–16, Hebrews 10:24–25, I Corinthians 12:4–7, 14–20, and 27,

Colossians 3:12–17 and Ephesians 5:25–27

Big Ideas:

•Salvation is not just about you believing some things so that you can go to

heaven when you die. It is also about belonging to a family (community) of faith

where you’re on mission together building the Kingdom of God.

•The family (community) of faith is essential for...

1. Spiritual growth and maturity (discipleship/sanctification)

2. Accountability

3. Utilizing spiritual gifts (ministry/service)

4. Putting into practice the things God calls us to live out... your daily

Christian life/walk.

•Jesus’ love and commitment to the church should compel us to love and be

committed to the church as well.

Questions:

1. What was most interesting or encouraging to you about the sermon this week?

2. What was most challenging to you about the sermon this week?

3. What brought you to the small group you’re a part of?

4. What difference has small group made in your life or spiritual journey?

5. What hopes do you have for your small group moving forward?

6. The action step this week was to try out a small group or invite someone new

to yours. Obviously, if you’re reading this, you’re in one, but take some time and

discuss how your group can be really proactive in inviting people to join your

group.

Easter 2019 - Easter Tide pt 2 - But We Were Hoping

Jesus joins two disappointed disciples on a long walk. Disappointment is the prerequisite to genuine discipleship, the death of all our false expectations of God.

Summary

  • Luke 24:13-27

Big Ideas

  • Let the church set your calendar

  • Disappointment with God is an essential part of walking with God, and can result in either denial, resentment, or acceptance.

  • Disappointment is the prerequisite for genuine discipleship because it is the death of all our false expectations of God.

Small Group Questions

  • What was most interesting or encouraging to you?

  • What was most challenging to you?

  • What are some of the expectations you have of God?

    • If I [blank], then I expect God to [blank].

  • Share a time God has really disappointed you? What did you learn from it?

  • Our action step was…

    • Tell God how he has disappointed you.

    • Ask God what those disappointments are trying to teach you.

    • Have you been able to do it? If not, how can the group help?

Easter 2019 - Easter Tide

There's no doubt that after denying Jesus, Peter felt like an absolute failure. Jesus needed to have a conversation with Peter in order to prepare him to lead the church. In that conversation Jesus reminds Peter of some very important things... things that we need to be reminded of as well.  
Just as it was for Peter, the resurrection of Jesus means that we too can have a fresh start. Failures and mistakes in our lives don't have to be the final word. Jesus redeems us and give us a new purpose.

Easter Tide (part I)

Text:  John 21:15-22; James 2:14-18 & 26

Big Ideas:  

1.  To love Jesus means to DO something (James 2:14-18 & 26).

2.  The sheep belong to Jesus

3.  Following Jesus will cost you

4.  Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others

Questions:

1. What was most interesting or encouraging to you?

2. What was most challenging to you?

3. Has following Jesus ever cost you anything?  How so?

4. What are some of the problems with comparing our life, ministry, gifts, etc… with others?  Have you ever done this?

5. In what way(s) have you been able to “feed His sheep” this week?  If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet, how can you “feed His sheep” this week?   

Easter 2019 - Palm Sunday

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for Passover and is welcomed like a King. People waved Palm branches and shouted "Hosanna!" No doubt many of the people wanted Jesus to be King and free them from their Roman oppressors. However, Jesus rides in on a donkey showing humility, and his plan was not to fight Rome, but to die bringing them spiritual freedom from their sin. Later, this same crowd shouting "Hosanna!" will shout "Crucify Him!"

As we prepare to celebrate resurrection next Sunday, focus on the cross this week. Read the following Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus this week: Monday - Matthew 27, Tuesday - Mark 15, Wednesday - Luke 23, Thursday John 19. Then Join us for Good Friday services and Easter at the Expo.

Small Group Discussion Questions

Series:  Easter 2019 (Part I) The Triumphal Entry

Text:  Matthew 21:1-17

1.  Have you ever gotten the wrong idea about someone?  Their motives?  Who they were as a person?  What they were up to?  What eventually changed your mind about them?  

2.  Read Matthew 21:1-11.  We know that just a few days after this story takes place, the crowd is once again shouting at Jesus, but instead of shouting praise they will be shouting “Crucify Him!”  Why does the crowd seem to love Jesus so much in this text?  Do they simply have the wrong idea about who he is and what he’s going to do for them?

3.  Read Matthew 21:12-13.  What does it teach us about Jesus that he got so angry and drove certain people out of the Temple?  How does this differ from the way people typically perceive him?

4.  What’s the difference in righteous anger and unrighteous anger?  When was the last time you were righteously angry about something and what did you do about it?

5.  As Dave mentioned, part of the reason Jesus was so angry is that the Temple had become a place for insiders (Jews) at the exclusion of outsiders (Gentiles).  What can/should we as a church learn from this?  What are some things you think we do well to ensure that outsiders feel welcome in our church?  What are some tangible things we can/should always do to make sure those who are far from God feel loved, welcomed, and wanted at our church?  

Reminder… The action step this week is to focus on the cross as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection next Sunday.   You can do so by specifically taking time to read the gospel accounts of the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus as recorded in Matt. 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.  Then join us for Good Friday services on Friday at the EXPO Center in Belton.  (If you’ve been doing these readings this week, feel free to share any thoughts or insights with the group on how it has helped you focus on the cross and what Christ accomplished for you).  


King - The Story of David | Week 8

After David sins with Bathsheba, he sins again by trying to cover it up. This raises the question... how do we deal with our sin? There are a lot of wrong ways that we tend to try and handle our sin, but only one right way, and that is to repent. What is repentance and how do we practice repentance regularly in our lives?

Read Psalm 51 and then write out your own prayer of repentance to God.

Small Group Discussion Questions 

Series:  King… the story of David (Part 8)

Texts:  II Samuel 11:6-17;  II Samuel 12:1-10; Psalm 51:1-17

1.  David initially responds to his sin the wrong way.  As mentioned, there are a lot of wrong ways people tend to respond to sin in their lives (blaming others, trying to justify it, comparing our sin to others, minimizing it, etc…).  Why do you think our first response is usually to respond to sin in sinful ways?  What is usually the result of that?

2. Like David, have you ever tried to cover up a sinful mistake only to discover that it actually made the problem worse or led you deeper into sin?  In other words, have you ever tried to dig yourself out of a hole only to find that you just made the hole bigger?

3.  What does true repentance mean?  What does it look like?  How does repentance differ from confession?  Why is confession alone not enough?

4.  Romans 2:4 says that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.  How so?  Can you give an example of how God’s kindness in your life has led you to repentance?  

5.  Read Psalm 32:1-5.  What do you think David means when he says in verse 3, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted aways…?”  What can/should we learn from this about trying to hide our sin?

6.  David’s sin with Bathsheba didn’t just happen.  There were some reasons that he sinned the way he did.  Most scholars believe that his sin with Bathsheba was premeditated and carefully planned.  The temptation to sin is all around us just as it was for David.  With that in mind, what are some practical things we can do to avoid falling into sin the way David did?  What barriers or accountability have you put in place to avoid such temptation?  

7.  The action step this week is to read Psalm 51 and then write out your own prayer of repentance to God.  Have you had a chance to do this yet, or have you ever done it before?  If so, what was that process like?  Was it helpful to you?  How so?  

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.