Jesus Unfiltered: Testify

"Do You Love Me More Than These?" - Part 6

Text: John 21

Pastor Chip finished our series "Jesus Unfiltered: Testify" this week by focusing on Jesus restoring Peter and removing his shame. We hope that as your small group talks through these questions you are able to unearth areas of your life where you have felt shame. Our prayer is that Jesus would bring you freedom and healing. Not only that, but that you would be able to be an instrument of freedom and healing for others.

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

Who is the bravest person you know? Why? What one story encapsulates their bravery?

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

Read Matthew 28:10, 1 Cor. 15:4-5, and John 21:1-6. Answer the question below.

Peter got antsy while waiting for Jesus. According to the Apostle Paul, Jesus had appeared personally and individually to Peter. Whatever happened in that conversation, Peter still felt shame over his denial of Christ. He got tired of waiting for Jesus and decided to go fishing. 

  • Pastor Chip in his sermon this weekend taught about how shame can be expressed in a lot of different ways. In what ways do people tend to hide when "shame" is not identified and dealt with?
    • Jesus often works to meet us in our place of hiding and shame to bring us into healing and restoration. 
    • For Peter, this outlet becomes a frustration all unto itself! Peter went fishing, and caught NOTHING! He's a professional fisherman, and no fish! How do you think Peter was feeling in this moment? 

Read John 21:7-23 and answer the questions below.

  • Why is it significant that Jesus asked Peter the same question three times?
  • What is Jesus' response to Peter's answer? 
    • Why is this important? 
  • What about Jesus' approach to restoring Peter was most encouraging to you?

  • Jesus meets us where we are at. Jesus met Peter while he was fishing . Share about a time when Jesus met you in a place full of difficulty or shame and brought you healing (Leader- give your group a few minutes to process this question if needed).
  • Leaders- encourage your group to think quietly for a few minutes for personal reflection. Encourage people to share if they feel safe and feel ready. Make sure not to force anyone into sharing.
    • Ask this question- What are the areas of shame in your life that haunt you, that you can't seem to escape?

Live It Out:

Choose one person you can confide in and share the shame you feel.  If it's not someone in this group,  have your group hold you accountable to share with that person this week.

Who could be encouraged by the process of healing and freedom that God has led you on? How can you share that with them this week?

Prayer Time:

Pray for the person on your right. Pray specifically that they would know and experience God's love and healing this week.

If you have time, pray that Jesus would reveal to you areas in your life that you don't realize are causing you to respond with shame and hiding.

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Stop Doubting and Believe - Part 5

Text: John 20

Happy Easter! This weekend Chip examined in John 20 the incredible reality about Jesus rising from the dead. We examined the first witness, the response of skeptics (his own disciples), and we were encouraged by their faith in response to the living Christ

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

Share your favorite part of the resurrection story.

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

Read John 20:10-18 and answer the question below.

  • Why was Mary Magdalene's testimony so significant given the culture that the Book of John was written in?

Read Luke 7:18-28 and John 20:24-29 answer the questions below

  • You will have doubts about Jesus. If you haven't yet, they will come. What is important is how you respond when doubt happens.  What can you learn from these two passages about how to deal with doubt when it happens? 
  • How does Jesus' response to Thomas encourage you? How interested do you think God is in revealing Himself to you?

  • What does it mean to be an honest skeptic?
  • Look at the "Four Timeless Truths for Honest Skeptics" below. Which "hits home" the most with you? Why?
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Live It Out:

What action step can you take this week in helping lead someone closer to Christ?

Prayer Time:

Thank Jesus for taking the penalty of our sin and dying on the cross for us. 

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What I Have Written, I Have Written - Part 4

Text: John 19

This week Chip examined John 19 and Jesus’ crucifixion. We remembered and focused on the high price that was paid for each of us by Jesus. We were encouraged towards thankfulness and action as we approach Easter. 

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

Share with your group one way that God has been using you in the lives of others over the last few weeks.

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

Also, as with every week, don't feel pressured to go in-depth on every question, or complete the entire outline. The purpose of this outline is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

Read John 19 and answer the question below.

Have each group member read a few verses at a time so each person gets an opportunity to participate

  • What part of John 19 most moved you? Why?

Read Psalm 22:11-21 and answer the questions below

  • What similarities do you see between this psalm and the description of Jesus' crucifixion in John 19?
  • Is it significant to you that Psalms was written 1,000 years before these events happened? Why or why not? what proof might it give to the claims about Jesus being the Messiah?

  • What was it that convinced you that Jesus is the unique Savior of the world? Or, if you aren't a Christian yet, what questions do you still have about Jesus and His claims of being the unique Savior of the world? 
  • What are the implications for your family, friends, and co-workers if you know this truth and they do not?

Live It Out:

How could you share the incredible truth of John 19, Psalm 22, and Isaiah 53 with a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor this week?

What encouragement/support do you need from this group to help make that happen? Go and live that out this week!

Prayer Time:

Read John 19:35.  

Pray that your belief and convictions would be strengthened.

Pray for each other in your group to have courage to share these truths with others.

Pray for those you are connected with in your life that their hearts would be ready to respond to the truth about Jesus. 

 

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For This I was Born - Part 3

Text: John 18

Last week Chip examined John 18 and Jesus’ assertion, “For this I have been born…to testify to the truth.” He also explored the common struggle of many Christians, regarding sharing our testimonies with others, and the ideas of courage and cowardice.

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

What does courage mean to you? What does it mean to be a coward? Allow each person to share.

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders, please always make an intentional effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all Small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).

Also, as with every week, Small Group Leaders should never feel the pressure of having to go in-depth on every question, or completing the entire outline. The purpose of these questions is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.

 

Question 1 – What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? What compelled you to engage in such an act of bravery?

Question 2 – On the far less comfortable side of the coin, what is something cowardly that you’ve done? This does not need to be soul-bearing, but in the scope of something that is shareable. (Perhaps as a child, you allowed someone else—a sibling or friend—to take the blame for something you did; You didn’t speak up for someone when you should have, etc.).

Question 3 – What was the motivation for your response to Question 3? (Example: Fear, Pride, Greed, etc.).

Question 4 – Read Hebrews 11:1-2. In this verse, Paul says that “the men of old gained approval.” It’s good to realize that “men of old” refers to the Saints in the Old Testament (Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Moses, Rahab, etc). Good and bad, valid and invalid, what are some ways current-day Christians strive to gain God’s approval?

Question 5 – Take turns in your group reading through Hebrews 11:8-38. Consider some of the “men of old”—a list that contains women as well—and go around your group and discuss which ones stand out as the most courageous to each person. Answers will vary, based on individual definitions of courage.

Question 6 – Considering the saint(s) you deemed most courageous, what would it take for you to behave in the same courageous manner?

Question 7 – What is the most fearsome thing you face regarding your faith? How does it differ from the things the “men of old” faced?

Live It Out:

When we read about “men of old,” we tend to think that we could never attain such bravery, and because we don’t live in the same times, our acts of bravery tend not to be as perilous; however, we all face our own moments of decision—where the rubber meets the road, so-to-speak.

With this in mind, what is your Goliath?

Consider that before David killed Goliath, he said to the giant, “…the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47).

How can this verse bolster you to be courageous enough to face your Goliath this week? Sharing with the group, what conscious effort are you committed to take in overcoming your Goliath?

Prayer Time:

Before you pray, read 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

And, read Luke 12:4, “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.”

Pray that each participant in the group accept the courage given to them by the greatness of God and the mightiness of the Holy Spirit. Also pray for contentment “with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when [we are] weak, then [I am] strong” 2 Corinthians 12:10.

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The Time Is Now!- Part 2

Text: John 17

 

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

Share about a time when prayer had an amazing and supernatural effect on a situation you were in.

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders- Please always make the effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember that the goal is that your group would have authentic and significant conversation about what God is doing in their lives. Don’t feel pressure to go in-depth on every question, or complete every question. 

Read John 17:1-5 and answer the questions below

  • Why do you think Jesus prayed for Himself?
    • What did Jesus pray for?
      • Define glory.
  • How can your prayers be more focused on the glory of God? 

Read John 17:6-19 and answer the question below

  • What two things did Jesus pray for His disciples? Who, in your life this week, needs you to pray that for them?

Read John 17:20-26 and answer the questions below

  • What did Jesus mean when He prayed that we would be "one" even as He and the Father are one?
    • How is that working out in your life? Relationships? 
  • Why is unity and love so important to the Christian life? 

Read Ephesians 1:15-19 and answer the question below

  • There are many powerful prayers in scripture. Read Paul's prayer for the Ephesians believers and share what you identified with most in his prayer. 

Live It Out:

Dedicate a set amount of time everyday this week (5 minutes, 25 minutes, etc...) to prayer. Spend time praying for yourself, your family, your church, and those around you. Find a place and time where you can escape all interruptions and focus solely on praying and communing with God. 

Prayer Time:

Pray for your “one”. Who is that one person that God is putting on your heart and mind to be praying for and inviting to Easter Services?

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You Also Must Testify - Part 1

Text: John 15:26-27, John 16

 

 

GROUP CONNECTION

Target time: 5-10 minutes

Google the word "testify" and discuss its meaning and application for you in your family, work, and relationships.

STUDY/DISCUSSION

Target time: 45-50 minutes

Small Group Leaders- Please always make the effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Also, as with every week, don’t feel pressure to go in-depth on every question, or complete every question. Don’t let the pressure of completing every question distract from what God might be doing in your group.

1.      How does "testifying" about Jesus differ from "serving" Jesus? When and how are they the same?

2.      As a group, read these excerpts from Martyr’s Oath. Which one of these resonates with the most? Why?

a.      I stand with the Apostle Paul in stating that “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

b.      I take a stand to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with my mind as I meditate upon His Word and His promises to me. 

c.       I commit to love my family, orphans, widows, lepers, the wealthy and the poor the way that Christ loved the Church.

d.      I surrender this body on earth to the perfect will of Jesus and should my blood be spilled may it bring forth a mighty harvest of souls.

Read John 15:26-27 and answer the question below

3.      How has the Holy Spirit “born witness” or “testified” about Jesus in your heart and life?

Read John 16:7-13 and answer the questions below

4.      The Holy Spirit lives inside of every believer 24/7/365.  How are you taking full advantage of the Holy Spirit’s constant presence in your life?

5.      How have you seen the Holy Spirit work in your life (or the lives of others) in the ways described in this passage?

Read John 16:33 and answer the question below

6.      Share about the tribulations that you have recently faced. How has the truth that Jesus has overcome the world given you hope in these tribulations?

Live It Out:

Share one of your biggest challenges that hinders you from testifying about Jesus’ work of love and transformation?

Prayer Time:

Pray for opportunities to testify about Jesus.

Pray for your “one”. Who is that one person that God is putting on your heart and mind to be praying for and inviting to Easter?

 

 

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