“Our Need to Worship” – John 4:19-26
Worship is essential
No human civilization has ever been created that did not worship.
Cultures that have forbidden worship were doomed to the ugliness of selfishness with its greed and tyranny.
A gift from God
Our soul’s hunger and thirst to know God is satisfied in worship.
Without worship we confuse the temporary satisfactions of pleasure with the eternal joy of God’s gift of purpose for our lives.
Make it a priority
The truth is that what we expect is exactly what we get in worship.
True worship allows us a glimpse of eternity.
1. What are some of your best “worship” memories
2. How/why does worship bring out the best in us?
3. If the devil and dictator’s work so hard to keep us from worshipping, why do you suppose so many people do this to themselves?
4. How has worship been a gift to you?
5. How do you prepare yourself to “meet God” in worship?
6. What are some of the things that can keep you from meeting God in weekly worship?
7. What are some examples of regular personal worship and lives that have changed the world for good?
8. What good do you think God could do in the world through you? How would He use weekly worship to serve that purpose?
“Our Need to Pray” – Matthew 6:5-13 – Pastor Larry Kassebaum
Too important for feelings
Prayer is a habit because it only comes naturally as we practice it.
A disciplined prayer life helps us overcome misconceptions about God left by powerful and abusive people in our lives.
Look into the eyes of Jesus
We are easily tempted to look at the hands of Jesus rather than His heart.
Consider this, Jesus would rather love you from afar than manipulate you into a relationship.
Practice makes permanent
Daily prayer opens us to God’s guiding and to discovering our inner purpose.
Set aside your best time and go someplace where it is unlikely that you will be interrupted.
1. When you close your eyes, what face do you often place on God? How does that help/hinder your prayer life?
2. How should the face of Jesus change your prayer life?
3. If we have been created for a relationship with God, why is prayer so difficult at times?
4. How is our prayer blessed by an understanding of God’s respectful love for us?
5. What is your best time of day? How can you offer that to God in prayer?
6. Where are you best able to pray? Can you go there consistently?
7. What do you desire most when you spend time with God in prayer?
“The Truth about Change”
John 3:1-8; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Exodus 1:6-14
Where fairy tales fail
Many people have been crippled with disillusionment and disappointment because of their life expectations.
God’s book never gives us the illusion that life gets easy at some point and the challenge to grow comes to an end.
Jesus shows us how to not only how to cope but to be conquerors.
Be alert for God’s voice, accept God’s comfort and ask for God for courage.
All sunshine makes desert
The truth of the matter is that God can use sunshine and shadows to bless us.
For the best results apply God’s word, anticipate God’s help and adhere to God’s plan.
1. In what ways do you think you might have been influenced by the “happily ever after” myth?
2. What are some of the unexpected changes that you experienced in each of these periods?
3. What were some changes that occurred during these periods that you weren’t prepared for even though you should have seen them coming?
4. What are some of the similarities between early childhood, adolescence, adulthood and senior adulthood?
5. Which of these seasons (above) did you find most challenging? Enjoyable?
6. What are some of the ways Jesus’ life and God’s word can prepare you for both the expected and unexpected changes in life?
7. How have you prepared yourself for the “normal” changes that are likely coming in your life? How might these preparations prepare you for the unexpected things to come?
“The Truth about Pain” – John 14:11-20 – Pastor Larry Kassebaum
Pain serves a purpose
God doesn’t want us to ignore pain, He wants us to discover its cause.
The truth is pain is a tool that God uses for good in our lives.
God uses pain to Goad us.
God uses pain to Guide us.
God uses pain to Gauge us.
God uses pain to Guard us.
God uses pain to Grow us.
1. In what ways has today’s teaching changed your perspective on pain?
2. When in your life have you seen God use pain to goad you?
3. When in your life have you seen God use pain to guide you?
4. When in your life have you seen God use pain to gauge you?
5. When in your life have you seen God use pain to guard you?
6. When in your life have you seen God use pain to grow you?
7. Why is it so important to see pain as a component of God’s bigger purpose for your life and not just as a roadblock to your pleasure?
“The Truth about God” – John 14:15-21
The Myth: God is unreasonable
The Truth: God is a compassionate Father
The Myth: God is unreliable
The Truth: God is a consistent Father
The Myth: God is unconcerned about me
The Truth: God is caring Father
The Myth: God is unpleasable
The Truth: God is a gracious Father
Ephesians 1: 4-5
1. What are some of the ways in which we are led to believe things about God that are not true?
2. Since the Bible often refers to God as being like a father, what are some of the ways our personal experiences with an earthly father can hinder a “right relationship” with God the father of Jesus Christ?
3. What are some of the ways our creeds help us get a true picture of God’s nature and God’s activity in our lives/the world?
4. What are some of the areas of your life where your behavior has been based on a distorted understanding of God?
5. What are some of the areas of your life where your have been blessed by behavior that was based on a true understanding of God?
6. Why is it helpful to remember that peoples understanding of God is more likely to be distorted than accurate?
7. Who are the people or what were the incidents in your life that were most helpful in exploding your misconceptions about God and pointing you toward the truth?
“The Truth about Truth” – Galatians 1:1-9 – Pastor Larry Kassebaum
There is a huge difference
Your beliefs will determine your behavior.
Untrue beliefs are both damaging and dangerous.
1 John 4:1
The truth sets you free
Truth is a road map for negotiating the difficult challenges of life.
Jesus explodes the myths that make us miserable.
God wants to transform us inwardly by a complete change of your mind.
Commit yourself to:
Seeking the truth
Living the truth
Believing the truth
2 Timothy 4:3-4
1. How has your life been impacted by misinformation or false information?
2. What are some of the similarities and differences between people deliberately or unintentionally giving you false information?
3. How might you answer someone who says, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere?”
4. Look carefully at the last few words of John 8:44, what sobering message do you hear in those words?
5. Why is there no better source of truth than the Bible? (You might want to read Romans 3:4.)
6. Eighty times in the four Gospels Jesus says, “I tell you the truth.” Twenty times he is recorded saying, “You have heard it said, but I say…” Why is this important?
7. In Matthew 7:24, to what does Jesus compare a life built on truth?
“Words of Comfort” – John 14:1-11 – Pastor Jim Hale
When it comes to talking about religion, it is increasingly difficult to talk to folks about absolutes.
There are similarities in many of the world’s religions.
We cannot confuse that, because there are similarities between religions, all religions are essentially the same.
Truth is not relative to my sincerity.
Truth is not relative to my feelings.
“All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
“For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37)
“And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me.” (John 14:3)
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“Then, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
“Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8)
“A Very Important Goodbye” – Acts 1:1-11 – Pastor Jim Hale
1) Jesus reviewed the mission that He was sent by God to accomplish.
“After His suffering, Jesus showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.” – Acts 1:3
2) Jesus kept in touch by sending them the Holy Spirit.
The word “goodbye” is a contraction of the Old English, “God be with ye.”
3) Jesus’ goodbye included plans to get back together!
“Why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:11
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am.” – John 14: 2-3
“We have a reservation!!
Now what? What does this mean for my Monday morning and for my week?
“You will receive power when God’s Spirit comes on you. And, you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for, so that we can see exactly what He is calling, us to do!” – Ephesians 1:17-18 (MSG)