Let's Make a Deal

Genesis 15:1-21 (6.25.17 sermon) 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      Read Romans 4:1-8, 17-25.  What does it mean to be “credited with righteousness” apart from your actions?  How does this possibility push against our normal ideas about religion?   

Bringing It Home

·      How easy or difficult is it for you to receive the message of grace at the heart of the Bible’s story?  Why?

·      What would you tell someone else who was struggling with not feeling God enough for God or for the Christian community?

The Goodness Valve

John 15:1-9 (6.11.17 sermon) 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What fills you up spiritually, makes you feel most full awake to God and connected to God’s presence? 

·      Read Ezekiel 37:1-14.  What does it take to stay open to God’s fresh breath?

Bringing It Home

·      How well are you doing right now at staying attached to the vine and open to the flow of life running through it?

·      What stressors in your life tend to shut you down or pull your plug?  What will be your strategy for staying open to God in the midst of those?

Like a Child

Mark 10:13-16 (6.4.17 sermon) 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What do you think Jesus means when he says “Listen to me! Unless you welcome the Kingdom of God like one of these kids, you will never, ever be a part of it!”?

·      Read Luke 18:15-30.  This is Luke’s version of the same story. In all three gospels, the story of the rich young ruler follows the story of Jesus and the little children.  How might they be connected?

Bringing It Home

·      Are there “cares of this world” right now that are complicating your life?  What would it mean to let go of them?

·      What is one thing you could do this week to be more “like a child”?

The Paper Tigers' Pit

Daniel 6:1-22 (5.28.17 sermon) 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever seen? 

·      Read Daniel 6:1-17 again.  What would you have done in Daniel’s shoes, hearing of this decree?  Why?

Bringing It Home

·      What have you been avoiding doing, or what conversation have you been putting off?  Where is your life currently “bottlenecked”?

·      How do the 5 steps that Meghan suggested for cultivating everyday courage apply to your specific situation?
 

Mixed Signals

Daniel 4 (5.21.17 sermon)

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What voices do you trust most for counsel on what God desires, for your life and for the world?  Why do you trust them?

·      Read 1 John 4:1-16.  What does this passage suggest are indicators that a source is trustworthy?

Bringing It Home

·      Respond to the criteria Pastor Meghan suggested for how to discern a true word from God: 

(a) Which criteria do you most frequently overlook in your own practice of discernment?

(b) What other criteria might you consider adding to the list?

Out of the Frying Pan

Daniel 3:1-18 (5.14.17 sermon)

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What do you believe you can trust God for?

·      Read Revelation 7:9-17.  The book of Revelation in many places picks up on the imagery of Daniel.  What does this text add to the themes of Daniel 3?

Bringing It Home

·      What is the last thing you did out of loyalty to God that made you uncomfortable?

·      What fiery furnace are you currently standing in (or, alternatively, what fiery furnace is God calling you to walk toward in an act of holy resistance)?

Shattered Dreams

Daniel 1&2 . (5.08.17 sermon) 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      Read John 17:14-19.  What does it mean to be people who serve here in this world, while not truly being a part of it?

·     Read John 17:20-23.  These verses seem to say that our unity will be evidence that Jesus truly was sent by God.  How can we work on being united in our commitment to God's kingdom even while we remain divided on political matters?

Bringing It Home

·      When have you found your identity more in your political views than your spiritual unity with other Christians?

·      What would it look like if Christians were willing to be thrown to "the lions and the fire" by their own political parties because of their commitment to God's kingdom?  How can you embody that commitment yourself?

One Night to Live

John 13:1-17 . (4.30.17 sermon) 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What is humility?  How do you think the meaning of the word is often misunderstood?

·      Read Philippians 2:1-11.  How can God be humble, and what does that tell us about the nature of true humility?

Bringing It Home

·      Where are you most tempted to anchor your significance or meaning outside of Christ?

·      What would it look like for you to “wash feet” at this moment of your life?

Broken & Poured

Luke 7:36-50  (4.23.17 sermon)

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What story of Jesus do you personally find most compelling?  What story most draws you to him?

·      Read Matthew 7:1-6.  What does it mean to you be called to “judge generously”?  How do you see Jesus practicing this mode of judgment throughout his ministry?   

Bringing It Home

·      Who (individual or group) in your life do you need to practice a greater level of generosity toward?

·      What are you most tempted to withhold from others—your time, your good opinion, your trust, your honesty, your affection, something else?

The Cowards Club

Mark 16:1-8  (4.16.17 sermon)

Getting to Know Each Other

·      What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

·      What are you afraid of?

·      How are fears currently steering or constraining your life?

Respond

·      What would you do if you weren’t afraid? 

·      What WILL you do in light of resurrection that you wouldn’t dare do otherwise?

The Greatest Story Never Told

Psalm 130  (4.9.17 sermon)

Getting to Know Each Other

·      If you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why?

 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

·      When have you experienced guilt that led to redemption?

·      When have you experienced shame to led to suffering?

Respond

·      Are there areas of your life in which you carry shame/guilt?

  • How do you expect you would feel if you were free from that burden?

·      How can you help create a culture free of shame and guilt at Trinity?

Death Grip

Matthew 16:21-17:9  (4.2.17 sermon)

Getting to Know Each Other

·      What day of your life would you most like to relive and why?

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

·      Where are you currently experiencing the grief of loss or change?

·      How has your grief been covered or concealed by other emotions, such as anger (blaming), envy, or apathy (avoidance)?

Respond

·      How will you make space for truly experiencing your grief?

·      Where might God be calling you to release yesterday’s good so you can receive tomorrow’s gift?

The Wedding Party

Matthew 25:1-13   (3.26.17 sermon)

Getting to Know Each Other

·      What moment of this past week did you feel most fully awake and alive? 

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

·      There are many different kinds of conditions that can trigger apathy, including stress, monotony, and compassion fatigue.   What is currently most likely to generate apathy in your life?

·      What kind of “sleep aids” do you regularly turn to?  (In other words, what devices do you most often use to numb or turn yourself off?)

Respond

·      What situation, experience, feeling, or person is God calling you to be more awake to?

·      Read Revelation 3:14-22.  This is a letter to a whole community struggling with apathy.  What does the passage suggest is the cause of their apathy?  What is the solution to it?

Saved by Shackles

Philippians 1:12-26

Getting to Know Each Other

  • What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

Responses and Reactions 

  • What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

  • When/where in your life have you experienced joy most consistently?
  • What part of your own life experience right now are you most eager to see God “re-purpose” into something beautiful?

Respond

  • Joy is like a muscle that gets stronger the more it is exercised.  What kind of practices will help you increase the strength of joy in your life?
  • Read slowly out loud through Romans 8:18-39 at least twice.  What images, words, or phrases caught your attention?  What do you hear here that gives you hope or calls you into joy?

The Wrong Right Turn

James 3:14-16

Getting to Know Each Other

·      As a child, did you ever have a toy/gift you desperately wanted and then received?  What was it and how did it feel?

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

·      Where have you felt yourself thinking the "grass is greener on the other side" without actually evaluating the cost of the fertilizer?

·      Is there someone in your life who has something/someone and you think you deserve it more?  How does that make you think about/treat that person?

·      Do you ever find you ever find yourself more willing to complain about things want than you are willing to make the changes and sacrifices necessary to acquire them?

Respond

·      What sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve your God given desires?

·     What desires are you willing to build on so that they grow to become your passionate pursuit?

Slow-Motion Madness

 Mark 11:12-23

Getting to Know Each Other

·      What’s one of your pet peeves?

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Assess

·      What is your typical relationship to anger?  Do you tend to default toward confrontation or avoidance?

·      When in the past has anger misled you?

·      Think about a time you have recently felt anger.  What is that anger inviting you to pay attention to, inside yourself or out in the world?

Respond

·      What would it look like for you to begin to channel that anger as fuel for healing?

'Gauges Lie' and Other Truths

Excerpts from Psalm 109, 102, 51, 89

Icebreaker

·      What’s a song that evokes particularly strong memories for you?

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      What is the relationship between faith and feelings?

·      Read Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 5:7-8.  For Jesus to be “fully human” means he possessed a fully human emotional life.  Is it difficult for you to imagine attributing a whole range of concrete emotions to Jesus?  Why or why not?

Bringing It Home

·      What is your normal, instinctive response to emotions generally?  Do you tend to express them openly?  Moderate them?  Bury them?

·      Share a story about a time when emotions helped you discern the truth of a situation.  Then share a story about a time when emotions misled you. 

Your Wake-Up Calling

Acts 26:1-19

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      Read Acts 17:16-34.  When Paul wants to share his faith with the people of Athens, he opens conversation by using the Greek culture’s own well-known artifacts, symbols, and literature.  What might be prominent symbols/artifacts in 21st American culture that could serve as spring boards to conversation about faith?  (ex. specific movies, memes, customs, games, etc)    

Bringing It Home

·      Practice “witnessing” together:

(a) If you consider yourself a believer in Jesus, what have you seen, heard, touched, or tasted that helps you to believe?

(b) If you are still exploring the idea of Jesus, what makes you want to believe and what questions are you wrestling with?

How to Build a Better Biosphere

Romans 15:25-30

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 

Paul uses the image of the human body to describe the parts we all play in making the church come to life.  What is another metaphor that can be used (other than the biosphere) to describe the complexity of giving and receiving in the church?   

In many ways, this offering of things we hold in abundance and receiving of things we lack seems logical and beautiful.  Why do you think we don't see this ethic more strongly lived out?  What parts of life today (culture, economics, sociology, etc.) get in the way of fully being the "body of Christ?"

Bringing It Home

·      As individuals, rate the assets below on a scale personal abundance and need.

1 - Great Need     2 - Some Need     3 - Balanced     4 - Some Abundance     5 - Great Abundance

  1. Relational Energy
  2. Emotional Strength
  3. Friendship
  4. Hospitality
  5. Time
  6. (OTHER)

Compare your answers with each other.  How can you support each other in the areas of need out of the areas of abundance?

The Life of the Party

1 Corinthians 11:17-29

Responses and Reactions

·      What disturbed you, challenged you, or intrigued you in this week’s message?

Digging Deeper

·      Read Luke 14:1-14.  How do Jesus’ teachings apply to modern “dinner etiquette”?  How do you suppose Jesus might disrupt our normal patterns of eating today, just as he disrupted ancient patterns?

Bringing It Home

·      What are your current dining (or “partying”) habits proclaiming about Jesus?

·      Who might God be calling you to bring to your table who doesn’t normally sit there?