Getting Started -What funny thing did you and a sibling or close friend argue about?
Digging Deeper -How does this passage reconcile with Matthew 7:3-5? 3 Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? 5 You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye.
-What are the four stages of reconciliation in this passage? -Why wait to go public about a person’s sin? -What authority is given to the followers of Jesus?
Living it out -What does this passage say about the importance of counsel through others? -Of accountability to a trusted few? -Have you ever been part of a process like this? -If you are willing to share, tell how the process did or did not work and how those involved responded. -Does the church do a good job of following this process? -When do you see it happen? With small offenses? With bullies? -Is there someone with whom you need to have a difficult conversation? -Take a moment to pray about that relationship and the next steps needed
Week of August 30: The Math of Forgiveness
Getting Started -What was one of the worst things one of your brothers or sisters ever did to you? OR -What would you do to celebrate if all of your debts were suddenly canceled?
Digging Deeper -Do you tend to be quick or slow to forgive? -Offenders in the time of Jesus were forgiven up to three times; a fourth offense need not be forgiven. What does Jesus’s answer (v. 22) say about forgiveness in the kingdom? -In refusing to be merciful to others, what do we deny ourselves (vv. 31-34)? -Compare the two servants. What is the difference in their debts (vv. 24, 28), their please (vv. 26, 29) and the decision about their cases (vv. 27, 30)? -If you were the master, how would you have felt when the servant refused to forgive a fellow servant’s debt-right after you had forgiven his huge debt? -Which character in this parable can you most relate to and why?
Living it out -What have you found helpful in forgiving those who have wronged you? -How has God’s forgiveness affected your life and your willingness to forgive? -What is the connection between forgiveness, health and wholeness? -Who is someone from whom you need to ether offer or receive forgiveness?
Week of September 6: A Fair Wage
Getting Started -Who do you believe works harder and longer and why? +Stay-at-home parent of preschoolers +Attorneys +Salesperson +Preacher
Digging Deeper -If you were one of the first workers hired, how would you have reacted to the landowner? -To what is the kingdom of heaven compared? -From an employer’s viewpoint, how would you react to the landowner’s wage practices? -What have you found the working conditions to be like in God’s vineyard? -How would you describe your attitude toward your job and/or ministry right now? -What does this parable say to you about God and God’s kingdom?
Living it out -How do you feel about recent converts getting the same benefits as you in the kingdom? -Would you recommend that people wait until just before they die to come to Christ, so that they won’t have to work so hard or give up so much? Why? -Do you ever envy God’s blessings on others? Why?
During this time of social distancing, it is difficult and sometimes unsafe to meet together. However, our need to grow spiritually has remained. Therefore, we have a new opportunity in the way we study scripture as a community. Since it is safest to be in groups of ten or less, we can return to our Christian roots of having home churches. Home churches allow small groups of people to meet in their neighborhood to study the Bible and to connect and support one another. So, we are providing resources for at-home Bible studies which relate to the weekly worship.
Anyone can make a small group. It may be only those who live in your household. It may include some neighbors who may or may not be a part of your church or it may be done through social media. The format is simple. Read the scripture and then discuss the questions. If you get stuck, contact the pastor and I will help you to the best of my ability.
Are you up for the challenge? Let us know if you are starting a group and who is attending. . Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I'm there with them." (Matthew 18.20)