Be Still...and Pray

Dig In Questions:

1) What is your earliest memory of praying? What was that experience like? How does that differ from your view or interactions with prayer now?

2) Read Jesus' words on prayer in Matthew 6:7-8. In light of this text, how do you think Jesus wants us to approach prayer?

3) Billy Graham once said, "Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God." How would you currently define your prayer life?

4) Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Do you tend to pray once or do you talk to God constantly throughout the day?

5) What can you start doing to have an ongoing, daily conversation with God? (Reminders, alarms, set times to pray?)

Just You And God

Dig In Questions

1) Do you feel that you are someone who makes time for yourself? Are there any reasons, (or lies you believe), that make you unable to?

2) On Sunday, we discussed how “the Christian life isn’t about everything you can get done, the Christian life is about recognizing what Christ has done and what you’re willing to let him do through you.” How does this statement run counter to what we see in the world, (and sometimes in Christianity), today?

3) Read Luke 4:1-2. How do you think Jesus’ time alone in the wilderness prepared him for ministry? How can alone time with God prepare Christians for their impact in the world around them?

4) How do you tend to handle stress? Read Luke 22:39-44. What can we learn from Christ’s example?

5) Has there ever been a time where you sought God’s wisdom before making a big decision? What did this time do for you, your attitude, or decision-making?

6) How can you start finding more time to be still before God?

Are You Really Following Jesus?

Dig In Questions:

Read Matthew 13:24-30

1) Why do you think Jesus made a point to tell the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds?

2) Although the servant in the parable has good intentions, what harm could be done by pulling up the weeds before the harvest? What do you take this to mean for our lives today?

3) If it’s not easy to differentiate between the wheat and the weeds, then what are some ways that you can tell whether you are truly following Jesus?

4) Read Matthew 7:21-23. Why would someone who says “Lord, Lord” not enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

5) Read Luke 5:32. Why do you think that repentance is an essential practice when following Jesus?

6) What do you need to do (or stop doing) in your life in order to more faithfully follow Jesus?

How Good Is Your Dirt?

Dig In Questions:

Read Matthew 13:1-23

1) Have you ever been put off, turned off, or offended by the things that Jesus said? In your faith journey, how have you overcome those obstacles or objections?

2) The farmer was intentional about sowing or planting the seed, even when he knew some of what he planted had little chance of surviving. Why was he so intentional? What does that teach us?

3) Have you ever shared the good news of Jesus’ love with another person and felt like the message fell on a hard path? How did it make you feel? Does it help to know that many of the people that Jesus encountered daily also rejected His love and teachings?

4) We recognize that when Jesus talked about “Good Dirt”, that he wasn’t meaning dirt without thorns, rock, or hard places - but rather - dirt that is fruitful in spite of these things. In what ways have you found yourself either in the past or present being choked, scorched, or hardened? If you struggled in the past, how would you encourage another who is struggling now?

5) Read Matthew 9:35-38 and Matthew 28:18-20. In light of what Jesus said in these verses, what should our response be regarding those who have the heart (dirt) on which the good news of Jesus has never been planted?

6) Knowing that we are learning from Jesus, the One whose words give eternal life, how will you live differently as a result of His teaching on the parable of the dirt?

The Importance of Foundation

Dig In Questions:

1) Do you find that you line up more with the wise person who builds on the rock of Jesus’ teaching or the fool who builds on sand?

2) It was said in the message that Jesus makes it clear that there will always be negative circumstances in life. Do you allow your circumstances to control you?

3) React to this statement: Jesus is not surprised by what is happening in your life right now. How can this help shift your perspective of what you are going through?

4) Read Matthew 7:24-27. What is it that will make the difference between listening to Jesus’ teachings and doing them in your life? What are some things you can do to actively choose to DO what Jesus teaches this week? What are some excuses that you use when you just stop at listening?

5) Read Matthew 5: 1-12. Which of these attitudes of a wise person are you going to act on this week? What about this attitude will be important to you not being controlled by your circumstances?

Don’t Hide Your Light

Dig In Questions:

1) Are there people that you have either intentionally or unintentionally left in the darkness? If so, what can you do keep it from continuing to happen?

2) In the sermon, it was said that Jesus’ teaching was not about keeping a check list, but rather, developing a heart and a spirit of love for God and in turn, a passion and compassion for people. Do you find that this is easier said than done? What are you doing to develop your love for God and for people?

3) Read Matthew 5:14-16. What are some ways that these verses apply to you personally or that you want them to apply in your faith journey?

4) What are some excuses you have used to not be the “light of the world”?

5) Do you remember a time that you were still in darkness? How did the good deeds of others help you get out?

The Rich Fool

Dig In Questions:

1) Which do you put more energy into - your relationship with God or your pursuit of wealth?

2) Read Luke 12:13-15. What was the brother's ultimate concern? How does Jesus's response (v 15) apply to your life?

3) Read Luke 12:16-21. Why do you think God speaks so harshly about the rich farmer's approach to life?

4) How will a person who is seeking God's riches live differently than a person who is working to accumulate money and possessions?

5) Based on this parable, what is it that you need to change or re-prioritize in your life?

Getting Right With God

Dig In Questions:

1) Read Matthew 7:1-2. Why do you believe that Jesus commands His followers to refrain from judging others?

2) Read Luke 18:9-14. Is there a group of individuals that Christians have gained an unfortunate reputation for despising? How can you extend love to them this week?

3) What do you think Jesus was hoping to get people to realize by telling the parable of the Tax Collector and Pharisee?

4) Read Ephesians 2:8-9. In your own words, how would you portray this message to a non-believer or to someone who was unfamiliar with the Bible?

5) Would you consider yourself someone who fully rests in what Jesus did for you on the cross or do you find yourself needing to earn favor with God? What do you need to do to rely more fully on the grace of Christ?

Persistence In Prayer

Dig In Questions:

Read Luke 18:1-8

1) Has there been a time in your life when you have experienced the power of doing something persistently?

2) Why do you think that Jesus put such an emphasis on teaching his followers the importance of prayer?

3) Time and time again throughout scripture, we see God’s command for His people to care about the oppressed. What does this communicate about the heart of God?

4) How can persistence in our prayer life help to deepen our relationship with Jesus?

5) Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. How did God display His love for Paul by not answering his prayer?

6) What do you need to do or reprioritize in order to have a greater prayer life?

The Mustard Seed

Dig In Questions:

Read Matthew 13:31-32, Matthew 28:18-20, & Acts 2:38-47

1) Stories speak to us - that’s why Jesus told so many. Do you have a “go to” story from the Bible? Share that story and tell why it’s especially impacting or meaningful.

2) If asked to describe the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God to a friend, how would you do it?

3) Whether you are a new believer or have been one for a long time, do you remember when the seed of faith was first planted in you? What was your initial reaction? How has it grown and changed you?

4) When sharing your faith with others, have you ever thought that your prayers were unanswered or that your witness was in vain or that your words were lost in the wind? How does knowing that God is responsible for the other person’s growth change your perspective on sharing His good news?

5) How can you help newcomers to faith or to Fork realize that they are welcome and have a place in the Kingdom?

6) If the plan of God is for every person among the people of God to count for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, then in what ways are you advancing God’s Kingdom?

How Much Do You Value Christ?

Dig In Questions:

1) Jesus spoke in parables in order to give individuals a better understanding of the Kingdom of God. What does this say about Jesus's care for his followers?

2) Read Matthew 13:44-46. When it comes to how you met Jesus, would you compare yourself more to the man who wasn’t searching, yet found a treasure or the merchant who was seeking out the pearl of great value?

3) Read Psalm 84:10. Put yourself in the author's (David) shoes. How could serving God be better than what our culture considers “the good life”?

4) Read Jeremiah 29:13. Has there been a desperate time in your life when you looked for God wholeheartedly and found Him? How has this impacted your faith?

5) Read Philippians 3:8. Does your life reflect the sentiment of this scripture? If not, what do you need to remove from your life in order to have a better relationship with Christ?

6) What do you need to do in order to follow Christ more faithfully? Share this with someone and ask that they hold you accountable.

How To Deploy Your Spiritual Gift(s)

Dig In Questions:

1) Read Ephesians 6:12. How often do you think about this battle? What role do you believe spiritual gifts play in it?

2) In his book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis discusses how one of Satan’s goals is to make Christians apathetic about their faith. What characteristics do you believe are reflected in spiritual apathy? How can spiritual gifts fight against this?

3) Theologian David Wells once wrote, “The Church has become a place to come and receive religious services and goods. If people’s needs are not met, they will begin Church shopping.” What are some ways you’ve seen consumerism creep into the American Church?

4) Read Matthew 20:1-16. What principles of this parable can you directly apply to your life?

5) Read Matthew 9:35-38. Do you believe that there are any valid reasons for the “workers to be few”/not using the spiritual gift that God has given you?

6) How do you plan to use your spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ (The Church)? Contact pastors@forkchristian.org to get plugged in!

How to Discover Your Spiritual Gift(s)

Dig In Questions:

Read the spiritual gift sections in Romans 12, 1 Cor. 12, & Ephesians 4

1) Why is it important that all believers strive to discover the way God has gifted them?

2) How would you explain the difference between spiritual gifts and natural talents/abilities? How can God use your natural talents and abilities to help others?

3) Read Galatians 5:22-23. How would you explain the difference between spiritual gifts and the fruits of the spirit?

4) On Sunday, we discussed a few different ways to discover your spiritual gift(s): prayer, living in community with other believers, trial and error, and spiritual gift surveys. How can each of these help you to discover your spiritual gift(s)?

5) Go to forkchristian.org/spiritualgifts to take your “Team Gifts” survey and look for ways to use your gift(s) in the Church!

The Importance Of All Gifts

Dig In Questions:

Read 1 Corinthians 12:1, 12:4-7, & 12:12-27

1) Up to this point in your life, what has your experience been regarding spiritual gifts?

2) According to the Barna Research Group, nearly 25% of believers don’t believe they have been given a spiritual gift. How do you think this could negatively effect a believer’s individual life and also the impact and effectiveness of the church?

3) On Sunday, we discussed how spiritual gifts are distributed by God’s choosing, not ours. Is it easy for you to accept that God decides your spiritual gifting, not yourself? Why do you feel this way?

4) Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Why does the lack of love disqualify the impact of our spiritual gifts?

5) Which role or gift within the Church have you been overlooking the value and importance of? Think of a person with this role/gift in the church - how can you or your small group thank them for their willingness to serve and share their gift with others?

Serving With The Right Heart

Dig In Questions:

Read Matthew 6:1-18

1) Read Ephesians 2:8-10. How does this passage show God’s purpose for your life?

2) While doing things for public acclaim is not to be our goal, how has the example of the service of other people motivated you to use your gifts for God?

3) Read Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 6:1. How do you contrast these two passages and how should we balance what they are trying to tell us?

4) What is the best thing you/we can do to make sure we faithfully serve God and do it for His glory and not for our own?

5) Read Hebrews 11. How should faith give you confidence to do whatever you need to do in your life? Are there things you need to act on and step forward in faith to do?

Suffering: Finding Closure

Dig In Questions:

1) C.H. Spurgeon once said: “Too many people write their blessings in sand and engrave their sorrow in marble.” Do you believe this to be true? Why do you feel it is important to remember our blessings?

2) In Job 30:1, we see Job willing to recognize the current circumstances of his life through two simple words: “But now”. How does facing the reality of our suffering help to move us towards healing?

3) In Job 38, we see that God speaks to Job in the whirlwind. Why do you think God used this approach instead of a whisper? Has God ever had to speak to you in a “storm”?

4) On Sunday, we discussed how “God cannot work for us, in us, or through us, when we think He is against us.” How would you encourage someone to see that God is FOR them when they feel that God is AGAINST them?

5) At the end of Job’s story, we see that his suffering did not define his life. Is there someone you know who could hear this advice? How can you best relay that message to them?

Living With A Clear Conscience

Dig In Questions:

Read Job 22:1-9 & Job 27:1-6

1) Read Romans 3:10, 3:23, and Mark 10:18. In light of these scriptures, how would you answer this question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

2) Job could live with freedom and a clear conscious because he knew nothing stood between him and God - he knew his suffering was undeserved. Do you feel that you live with that same type of mindset during difficult times? Why or why not?

3) Read 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Romans 14:12. What feelings or thoughts come to mind when you think of the moment that these verses speak to? Do you feel you are prepared for that moment? Why or why not?

4) Read Romans 10:9-10. Have you made this confession/decision? If you have, then what led you to make it? What is stopping you if you haven’t?

5) Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. Are there any parts of your old life that you’re still hanging on to? How can you start to let go of your old ways?

Doubt and Depression

Dig In Questions:

Read Job 19:25-27

1) Are there hurts in your life that you have kept to yourself? Knowing that others are here to help bear your burdens, can you share them with your group? Pray for each individual as they share.

2) Read through some of the “one anothers” - Romans 12:10, Romans 15:7, 1 Corinthians 12:25-26, Ephesians 4:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 5:13-14, Galatians 6:2. Talk about how each of them can be lived out in a practical way in your life.

3) During the message, you were encouraged to really see the people you have been called to love. When you think about your Sunday morning opportunities, how can you not just see the people around you, but get to know their names and get to know their stories as well?

4) Does being reminded that we are moving in the same direction and that we have a common goal help you to think of yourself less and focus more on the needs of others? If so, how?

5) Read Romans 8:18-39. What comfort do we find in these verses? What encouragement do they give us? How do they give us hope?

Suffering: How Do We Comfort Those Who Are Experiencing It?

Dig In Questions:

Read Job 2:11-13

1) Can you think of a time when someone helped to comfort you in a time a suffering? What did they do that made a positive difference?

2) Read Psalm 34:17. How should God’s attentiveness to our suffering inspire us to be attentive to the needs of others?

3) Read John 15:12-13. Jesus’ willingness to lay down his life for us should serve as an example of how we should love others in their time of need. What do you struggle to “lay down” in your life for the sake of those who are hurting - your time, schedule, money, energy, etc? How can you begin to release this?

4) Read Romans 12:15. Why is it important that we weep with those who weep? What impact does this have on someone who is hurting?

5) In his book “Being There”, Dave Furman writes, “There is a kind of ministry that is without words.” How can our presence and our silence minister to those who are suffering?

6) In light of this week’s topic, who can you bring comfort to this week?

Suffering: Does It Serve A Purpose?

*No video available. Sorry!

Dig In Questions:

Read Job 2

1) Has there been a time in your life when suffering has caused you to doubt your faith? Has there been a time when suffering has encouraged your faith? What caused this reaction?

2) Read Romans 5:3-5. Why should we “rejoice” when running into problems or suffering? What does this teach us about how God views our problems?

3) Read Romans 8:28- Has there been a time where you have seen God take something bad, (such as suffering), and work it out for your own good?

4) Read James 1:2-4. Why do you think our suffering has a better chance to grow through bad times as opposed to a good season of life?

5) On Sunday, we talked about how “The grace and power of Jesus not only makes suffering manageable, but it makes it purposeful.” What do you need to do to continually remind yourself of this?