Small Group Leaders

Communication and resources for Bethel Small Group leaders

Apr

28

“Core Commitment #1: Transforming Depth” (Colossians 1:28) by Dave Bechtel

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Here are the sermon questions for 4/30/17:

1.       Mixer: Share one of your favorite movies. Why?  This question is intended to get your group warmed up to sharing, provide an opportunity to get to know one another a bit more, and ties in with Dave’s introduction to the sermon using the movie “The Count of Monte Cristo”.

2.       How would explain Bethel’s value of “transforming depth?” How does it connect with discipleship?  Answers will vary on this question.  Transforming implies change and is more than inspiration because it is growing in Christlikeness.  Depth is, well deep, not surface-level.   Discipleship is about following Jesus and becoming more like Him in all areas of life – our relationships, ministry, etc.  It involves transformation and depth.

3.       What does the Bible say about  on-going Christian transformation in the following verses:  The idea behind this question is to see that transforming depth has Biblical support.

a.       Romans 12:2  – We are to transform our mind to be more like Christ by the renewing work of the Holy Spirit and resist the mold of the world.

b.       2 Corinthians 3:18 – we are being transformed in to Christ’s likeness through the Holy Spirit

c.       Hebrews 5:12-14; 6:1  – we are to grow into maturity and “feed” others spiritually; these versus show that transformation is deep and changing.

4.       “Shallow sameness” was the opposite meaning of “transforming depth” from the sermon.  What would this look like in the life of a Christian?  Shallow sameness would look joyless; broken relationships that lack depth and love; head knowledge that does not lead to good deeds and love; no evangelism or fruit of the Spirit evident, etc.

5.       Share examples of how Jesus demonstrated depth in His:  answers will vary but we added a few ideas….

a.       ministry and teaching.  Jesus showed depth in His ministry through His use of parables to teach which were simple to understand yet complex to live out; the Sermon on the Mount brought a whole new level to depth of obedience in that it included the heart attitude as well as the action; etc

b.       relationship with the Father.  His prayer life with His Father was regular, real and deep.  The prayer at the Mount of Olives before His betrayal was one such example in Luke 22:42ff.

c.       relationships with others.  Living life on life with the 12 disciples was relationally deep and even more so with the 3 (Peter, John and James). 

6.       How have you seen “transforming depth” demonstrated in our small group?  How could we do better?  Answers will vary.  One method for getting real answers might be to have each person write down their thoughts anonymously.  Then read them as a group and discuss the merits/applications.  Some questions to ask the group might be:  are we relationally deep – raw, real, confessing, loving sacrificially, etc?  Are we doing ministry together that is deep?  Does our group time engage everyone deeply?

Break into gender groups for the following:

7.       Evaluate your demonstration of “transforming depth” in:  We are hoping each person will identify an area where they can grow in transforming depth.  Take these thoughts to prayer together in question 8.

a.       your relationship with the Lord.

b.       relationships with others.

c.       your ministry inside and outside the church.

8.       Take time to share praises and requests.  Pray together and specifically ask the Lord what you can work on with Him as you grow in “transforming depth”.

Apr

20

“What’s in Your Cart?” (Phil 3:4-15) by Dave Bechtel

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Here are the sermon questions for Richland Campus 4/23/17:

1.       Mixer:  Share one of your earliest memories.  This is intended to be a mixer but also a question to get to know each other a bit deeper.

2.       Read Philippians 3:4-15 and discuss the following:

a.       What do you think “confidence in the flesh” means?  Give examples from what Paul formerly valued.  Confidence in the flesh is basically just that – when we have more confidence in ourselves or another person than we have confidence in Christ.  Self-sufficiency could be a synonym.  Paul’s list included his devout religion, his ancestry, his nationality, his title as a Pharisee, his zeal for the Lord, and his righteousness.

b.       What does Paul value now?  Paul values knowing Christ and growing closer to Christ.

c.       How would you define “mature” in verse 15?  Do we ever “arrive” this side of heaven?  Answers will vary but the use of the word here most likely means “adult-like” in our faith – firm in faith, doctrine, and application; serving others; “parental” in our spiritual walk (see 1 Cor 14:20).  It seems that we never attain full maturity, or perfection, this side of heaven yet we can continue to grow (see Paul’s thought on this in verse 12).

3.       Paul’s new values flow from his identity in Christ (vs. 10-15.)  Brainstorm what you think each might mean and how it could be lived out daily.

a.       The power of His resurrection  Pastor Dave explained it like this: The power of His resurrection. Paul wants to live with a new power source. Not the power of his former life, the power of the old nature, the flesh. He wants to live in the power of Christ Who lives in him, like the power He revealed when He rose from the dead.  Answers will vary but daily examples might include the power to refrain from sin daily, the power in prayer, the power in evangelism, power in living a new life in Christ, etc.

b.       Fellowship of His sufferings  Pastor Dave explained it like this:  The fellowship of His sufferings. Christ’s sufferings were for other people. He suffered for the people around Him (and us) because of His love for them. Paul wants to have that same compassion for others in his heart. That will produce a growing companionship between Paul and Jesus, as two who share the same treasure.  Answers will vary but daily examples might include daily dying to ourselves as we serve those around us, showing compassion to others who are suffering, drawing nearer to Christ as we suffer in prayer and increased intimacy.

c.       Becoming like Him in His death  Pastor Dave explained it like this: Becoming like Him in His death. Jesus died for and to sin (I Peter 4:1-2). Like Jesus, Paul wants to be dead to sin and alive to God, pure in body, soul and spirit.  Answers will vary but daily examples might be refraining from certain entertainment, quick to forgive, etc.

d.       Attain the resurrection of the dead  Pastor Dave explained it like this:  To attain to the resurrection of the dead. The word Paul uses here for “resurrection” is used only here in all the Bible. It is literally “out-resurrection”. Paul is not doubting that he will be resurrected on the day when all believers are raised. He knows that will happen. This is, the context suggests, a special aspect of that resurrection which he is hoping to attain, which he notes he has not yet attained. He adds more specifics in the following verses and says it another way. He wants to win the prize. He wants to be among those who, when they are resurrected, hear Christ say “well done” and who will rule with Him. (II Tim. 2:11-13).  Daily living like this is the daily reminder of who is Lord.

4.       Knowing Christ is a life-long process (Phil 3:12-13).  How does one know Christ? What is one thing you could do to grow in knowing Christ more deeply?  Knowing Christ requires us to be born again and a desire to know Him more.  We can do that through reading, study, and memorization of the Bible – His Word to us.  We can know Him through His people.  We can know Him more as we suffer. 

5.       What does it mean that Christ is your treasure? What clues would you look for?  He is valued so much that nothing else compares in value.  Nothing shares or competes with His worth in your mind, actions, and heart.  Clues might include a life-style of worship, prayer, looking for wisdom and direction from His Word, a love for His Word and His people, serving and sharing Christ with others because He is so valuable and HAS to be known!

6.       How might a person go about determining their values, treasures, or passions? What specific things could help you?  The idea behind this question is how could you reflect on your own life to see what you treasure – your Amazon purchase history, bank account, calendar, friends, activities, etc.  What do these things reflect about your treasure?

7.       Point IIIB in the sermon outline is “God will help us as we consider our values”. What are your current values, treasures, or passions?  Homework:  Spend time this week asking the Lord what values He wants to replace.  Share what you discovered with the group next week.  Questions 5 and 6 are fodder for assessing your personal treasure.  Be sure to assign this in group and make time next week to share.  If your group sings, consider playing or singing “Knowing You, Jesus”. 

Apr

13

“Resurrection Celebration” (Romans 14:9) by Dave Bechtel

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Dave Bechtel will be preaching at the Richland Campus on Easter Sunday.  Here are the sermon questions for your small group to discuss:

  1. What Easter traditions did you grow up with? Or what is one favorite Easter tradition you currently enjoy?  This is just a mixer question to get people warmed up to sharing.
  2. Read Romans 14:9, 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, and Philippians 2:5-11.  Spend some time praising God together for the Resurrection using these verses as prompts for thanksgiving and praise.  We purposely moved this prayer time to the beginning of the discussion time to mix things up a bit.  Consider reading the Scriptures and then thanking the Lord for all He has done in light of the Resurrection.
  3. Review the seven reasons given for celebrating Easter (see the sermon outline).  The seven reasons are provided on the sermon outline:  1) It fulfilled the promises and prophecies of the Scriptures, 2) It proved that His death was accepted by His Father, 3) Through His resurrection, Jesus conquered death, 4) It proves that others will be resurrected, 5) It proves that He will judge the world, 6) By it He was declared to be the Son of God, and 7) It proves Jesus is Lord.  The following questions are intended to get the group talking more deeply about each reason. 
    1. What new idea did you learn?  answers will vary
    2. What questions do you have?  answers will vary
    3. Which reason is particularly meaningful to you and why?  How does it make a difference in your daily life?  answers will vary
  4. Read Acts 2:36-38. There’s a major difference between acknowledging the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and personally believing in Him as your Savior. How would you explain the difference to a child?  We are hoping this question could help some in your group move towards a personal, saving faith in Jesus.  It is always a way for people to share the good news and how it matters to them.  One way to explain it would be to say you love someone versus marrying the person.  Or we know about the President of the United States but we don’t know him personally.
  5. Is there anything about the resurrection that is difficult for you to believe or to celebrate? Why is that?  This question is intended to help people who are struggling with the miraculous work of God in the Resurrection and the grotesque manner of death and burial.  Some may have difficulty celebrating or even believing.  But the resurrection is significant to us as Christians, as seen in Dave’s 7 reasons. 
  6. For the next four weeks, we will be learning about Bethel’s values.  In preparation for the sermon series, brainstorm what you think makes Bethel unique. What do you see as our core commitments?  Answers will vary.  The three values that we have identified include humble hearts, transforming depth, and full engagement.  Each sermon will highlight each value so we understand each more.
  7. Break into gender groups to share prayer requests.  Apply what you learned from the Pray Live Repeat sermon series as you pray.  We were hoping to remind you and your group of some lessons we may have learned in prayer like wrestle with God not against Him, or pour your heart out to Him in light of Who He is.