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?

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?

God Rewards Our Faithfulness

Dig In Questions:

Read Esther 8

1) Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you felt like God gave you a fresh start or a new lease on life?

2) At FCC, we often say that “We are a bunch of imperfect people seeking after a perfect God”. How have you seen that demonstrated in the Bible? How have you seen that demonstrated in your own life?

3) In the sermon, it was said, “Rewards aren’t something we deserve - they are not something we earn.” If you are a Christian, how has God rewarded your faithfulness? If you are not yet a Christian, how have you been rewarded by doing life with believers?

4) Think of someone who you see as a person of great faith. What sets them apart from all the other “nice people”? Are there places in your life that need changed in order for people to see your faithfulness?

5) Read Psalm 84:10. Has this been your experience in life? How so?

God Is In Control

Dig In Questions:

Read Esther 7

1) Has there ever been a time in your life when God revealed His control within unfortunate circumstances? What impact did that have on your faith?

2) On Sunday, we discussed how “faith allows us to see that God is in control, even when we don’t know how our story will end.” How can our faith help us to remain confident that God is at work during difficult times?

3) Based on Esther 7, do you think that Esther had any doubts about approaching the king with her request in the midst of Haman? If so, how do you think she overcame those doubts or fears? How can we learn from her example?

4) Read Isaiah 46:9-10. Why do you think God asks His people to remember His past faithfulness? How can this help us in our current circumstances?

5) Read Jeremiah 32:27. How differently would you live your life if you truly believed that nothing was too hard for God?

6) Read Psalm 8:4. How does it feel to know that the same God who existed before anything else, created all things, sustains all things, is above all things, knows all things, rules over all things, and does whatever He wants, is madly in love with you?

Courageous Faith

Dig In Questions:

Read Esther 5 & 6

1) What would you have done or would you do differently if you had a little more courage?

2) How would those in your life be impacted if you lived with a more courageous faith?

3) Luke 1:37 reads, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Do you truly believe this or live like it’s true? Why or why not?

4) Read Hebrews 12:15. Based on Haman’s example, is there any root of bitterness that you need to let go of in order to enjoy the blessings in your life?

5) On Sunday, we talked about two different types of miracles - the instantaneous and the “miraculous in process”, (miracles that God pulls off over a long period of time.) Can you remember an example of each in your life? Have you thanked God for these?

For Such A Time As This

Dig In Questions:

Read Esther 3:8 through all of Esther 4

1) Last week, we talked about ways in which we can stand out in our faith. How do you feel you did with that responsibility this week?

2) Read Galatians 1:10. Mordecai’s obedience pleased God, but obviously displeased people, (Haman & Xerxes). Have you experienced a situation like this in your own life? What was that like for you?

3) Read Hebrews 4:16. Do you feel that you take full advantage of having immediate access to God, our King? Why or why not? How can you start to improve this?

4) “God can and will use anyone to accomplish His purpose in this world, but what if He wants to use you?” How do you respond to this statement? Are there any reasons why you think God couldn’t use you to do something remarkable in this world? Be honest with yourself, (and those around you), and also take some time this week to pray those excuses away!

5) On Sunday, we heard that “We are right where we are, just as we are, for such a time as this so people can see that they have not been forgotten by God, and that He has unveiled an amazing plan to bring them into a relationship with Him.” What are some unique ways that God has positioned you for “such a time as this” to make a difference in “your kingdom”?

Living Out Your Faith

Dig In Questions:

1) Why do you think Mordecai chose to be defiant in the way that he did?

2) What area(s) of your life do you need to have a little more of that “Mordecai defiance”?

3) Does your faith in God cause you to stand out or blend in with the world around you? How so or why not?

4) Read Matthew 5:14-16. Is there an area of your life that is costing you or has cost you your Christian influence?

5) Read Matthew 10:16. In what ways can living out your faith be dangerous in today’s culture?

6) Read Matthew 16:24. Why does Jesus demand absolute surrender from his followers?

We Are Not Forgotten

Dig In Questions:

1) Left out. Left Behind. Last one picked. Un-wanted. Un-heard. Unnecessary. Not needed. Not included. Not noticed. With out purpose. With out a plan. Without hope. Too damaged. Too lost. Too far gone. Failed. Floundering. Forgotten.

Do any of these reflect how you feel or have felt in the past?

2) Have you ever felt Forgotten by God? Describe what that experience was like.

3) We live in an “Instant Society”. How have the instant access and availability of so much of life caused you to have distorted or unrealistic views of your relationship with God?

4) How has your pain or struggle or bad situation actually brought you closer to God? Why do you think it did?

5) Describe a time in your life where you actually waited on God and realized that his plan and purpose was better than the one you wanted to rush into.

6) Read Romans 8:28. What do we learn about God’s plans from this verse? What do we learn about our lives from it?

Are You More Like Jonah Or Jesus?

Dig In Questions:

Read the book of Jonah (c’mon...its only four chapters)

1) Has God ever asked you (or nudged you) to do something difficult? How did you respond to this?

2) Why do you think that Jonah was so opposed to taking the message of God to the city of Nineveh?

3) During Sunday's teaching, this quote was shared: “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” - Anne Lamott. Why do you think that Christians struggle with seeing people the way that God sees people? What can you do to help eliminate this from your own life?

4) Jonah had to wreck his life in order to once again turn towards God, yet God's mission for Jonah never changed. Why do you think God uses imperfect people to tell others about His perfect love?

5) In chapter 4, we see that Jonah didn’t believe that evil people deserved a chance to be forgiven by and to follow after a good God. What group(s) of people have Christians become known for rejecting? How do you think God feels about this?

6) On Sunday, we posed this question: Are you more like Jonah or more like Jesus? If you are more like Jesus, then you won't withhold God's love from anyone. With that being said, who do you need to reach out to and love this week?

Abraham & Isaac

Dig In Questions:

1) What is one of the most difficult things that God has asked you to do? Is God asking you to do anything difficult right now?

2) On Sunday we discussed how: “Great things are in store for Abraham if he can just stay out of his own way.” What are some ways that you seem to get in your own way on your faith journey and what do you need to do in order to change this?

3) As impatient people we often see that Gods plan for our lives conflicts with our impatience. We don’t get what we want when we want it, but instead when God wants us to have it. Has your impatience ever conflicted with Gods plan for your life? What was that time like for you?

4) At the age of 99 God reinforces his promise to unfaithful Abraham. Why do you think that God was so patient and with Abraham after many years of disobedience?

5) Why do you think God tests us? How has your faith been tested before and how did this effect you?

Hosea & Gomer

Dig In Questions:

1) On Sunday, we discussed how “God will do whatever it takes to get His people’s attention and to have a better relationship with them.” Describe a time when God had to grab your attention to get you to focus back on your relationship with Him.

2) Read Hosea 1:1-3. Hosea was willing to obey God even when the circumstances were incredibly unfair. Have you ever been faced with being faithful to God in the midst of difficult circumstances? What was this experience like for you?

3) In light of what God asked Hosea to do, are you willing to accept the fact that your obedience to God may benefit others more than yourself?

4) Read Hosea 3:1-2. How is Gomer’s story a thinly veiled version of our own story?

5) Read Romans 5:6-11. What feelings or thoughts do you experience when you read this?

6) How can the love and grace of God be motivational to how we live our life?

Two Gardens

Dig In Questions:

1) Temptation can be defined as “The desire to do something that God sees as wrong”. Do you think that Satan still uses temptation today? If so, how have you seen this play out in our culture?

2) On Sunday, we talked about how “Temptation is almost impossible to overcome when we focus more on what God has forbidden than what God has provided.” How can focusing on what God has blessed us with help us to avoid temptation?

3) Read Galatians 5:13. How could someone use their freedom to satisfy their sinful nature?

4) Read Matthew 26:36-46. If you were Jesus, what emotions would you have been feeling during the time before his arrest? Which would have been easier - obedience or disobedience?

5) Jesus told Peter to overcome temptation by “being alert” and “praying.” How can being on the lookout for temptation and prayer help to overcome temptation?

6) Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What does it mean to you that Jesus understands the temptations that we face? Does this give you more confidence in how to approach him and ask for his help?

Jesus In The Old Testament

Dig In Questions:

1) What has your experience been with the Old Testament (first 39 books of the Bible)?

2) Read 1 Corinthians 15:14. Why do you think the resurrection of Jesus is so important to Christianity?

3) On Sunday, Josh said, “We will never experience the hope that Jesus offers if we focus on our problems more than we focus on our Savior.” How can focusing on Jesus in the midst of our problems guide us towards hope?

4) Read Luke 24:25-26. Why do you think Jesus was so upset with his followers for not believing scripture? Why is believing scripture important to our lives?

5) Read Luke 24:27 and John 5:39. Why is it so important to see that the Old Testament is pointing humanity towards Jesus?

6) In light of Jesus’ words and today’s questions, how should a Christian approach the New Testament?

The Church

Dig In Questions:

1) What do you think of when you hear the word “church”?

2) Read Ephesians 5:25-30. Why do you think Paul described the church as the Bride of Christ? How then should we treat the church?

3) Read Hebrews 10:24-25. How can we motivate one another “to acts of love and good works?”

4) How does your involvement with a local group of believers (the church) help you not to drift spiritually?

5) Read Ephesians 4:11-16. How can you build up the church?

6) What next step do you need to take in order to be more committed to the church? Attending more regularly? Volunteering in some capacity? Participating in men’s or women’s ministries? Joining a small group? Financially partnering? etc.