Josh Haltom - Lead Pastor

The Light Of The World

Dig In Questions:

1) Read John 8:12-13. Why do you think Jesus used this specific metaphor when describing himself to the crowds? Why do you think this upset the Jewish religious leaders?

2) Since Jesus is the light of the world, then what are some practices his followers need to routinely do in order to reflect his light?

3) What are some things that our culture has deemed as “acceptable” that the Bible has defined as “darkness”? How do you feel a believer should handle those situations?

4) Read Psalm 23:4. Even though we may experience darkness, it doesn’t mean that we have to live in it. Do you know of another believer who’s going through a difficult time? What can you specifically do this week to encourage them?

5) Read Ephesians 4:21-24. Is there any part of your old self, (before knowing Christ), that you haven’t let God’s light into? What keeps you from doing so?

The Bread Of Life

Dig In Questions:

1) Read John 6:26. After Jesus fed the 5,000, He claimed that people only wanted to be with Him because of what He could do for them. Do you believe that many people follow or claim to follow Jesus just for their own personal gain? Do you follow Jesus? If so, why?

2) Read John 6:29. How do you react to this statement from Christ? Does it comfort you or do you feel the urge to earn favor with God through other ways?

3) Read John 6:30. How would you respond or what advice would you give to people who want a “sign” before they believe in Jesus?

4) Read John 6:35. How would you explain Jesus's statement to someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Him?

5) On Sunday, we discussed how “Jesus didn’t come into this world to fulfill your desires - He came into this world to be your desire.” Do you find this statement to be one that is tough or easy to accept?

6) Is there anything in your life that you desire above Jesus? If so, do you believe that you need to reevaluate your passions or priorities?

Recognizing God's Voice

Dig In Questions:

1) Do you remember a time in your life when you felt like God was telling you to do something specific? What made you so confident that He was doing so?

2) On Sunday, we discussed this idea: “God is always speaking, but we are rarely listening. The problem isn’t that He has lost interest; the problem is that we have lost our hearing.” How good are you at recognizing when God is communicating? Is there anything you need to do differently to better position yourself to hear His voice?

3) Read Hebrews 1:1-2. A lot of people think of Jesus only as someone we should follow and imitate, (which is true), but have you ever thought of Jesus as one of God's ways of directly communicating with us?

4) Read Proverbs 15:22. Why do you think it's important to allow God to speak into your life through other believers?

5) Read Galatians 5:16-25. Would you say that your life reflects the guidance of the Holy Spirit? If not, what do you need to change to allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead of your life?

6) On Sunday, we discussed three primary things to consider when trying to discern whether you are truly hearing the voice of God or just listening to your own desires: The Bible, Fruits of the Spirit, and your motives. How do you feel these could help you in your decision-making?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Suffering: When We Don’t Know Why

Dig In Questions:

Read Job 1

1) Can you give some examples of “deserved” and “undeserved suffering” from your life?

2) Read Proverbs 9:10. The Bible describes Job as a man who “feared God and stayed away from evil.” How can fearing God help us stay the course in our spiritual lives?

3) Why do you think Satan would want to attack those who are faithfully committed to God? What are some ways that you can protect yourself from his tricks and temptations?

4) On Sunday, we discussed how “we must experience life just as Job did - without complete answers to all of life’s questions”. How can this reality cause you to trust and lean into God during difficult times?

5) How do you typically respond to unfortunate circumstances or moments of suffering - with a “Why me, God?” attitude or an “I trust you, God!” attitude?

6) Let’s say that someone you know is going through a season of undeserved suffering. How would you begin to encourage them?

Roll The Stone

Dig In Questions:

Read John 11:1-44

1) Have you ever had a problem that you thought was too great for Jesus to handle?

2) Have you experienced a time in life when you felt that you had no hope, or that hope had been lost? How did Jesus come through?

3) In his teaching, Josh said that we often grieve the losses that Jesus is still able to repair. When it comes to your messy past, reputation, experiences, mistakes, shame, or guilt, how do you find that to be true in your life?

4) Josh reminded us that it’s never too late for Jesus. When it comes to the hopeless areas in the lives of your family members, your friends, or yourself, how does the account of Lazarus’ resurrection help to give you hope?

5) Before Jesus would heal Lazarus, he asked them to show him where his body was laid. Before Jesus will heal our situation, he wants us to show it to him - he wants us to take him to it. What situation are you dealing with that you need to lead Jesus to?

6) Mary said to Jesus, "If you’d been here, you could have done something"...but they forgot that Jesus was with them. We need to remember that he is always with us. If you’ve never rolled the stone away to allow Jesus access to your life, what’s holding you back?

Remembering God's Faithfulness

Dig In Questions:

1) Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt that your circumstances were a reflection of God's love for you? What was that season of life like for you?

2) What would you say to someone who truly believes their unfortunate circumstances are a reflection of God's love for them?

3) Read Exodus 14:14. What do you need to do in order to remain calm in the midst of poor circumstances?

4) When was a time that God showed up for you in a hopeless situation? Does that memory help you to trust God with your momentary circumstances? Why or why not?

5) What is one lesson that you can take away from this series on Esther?