Sermon Discussion Questions

May 28, 2017
A Grateful Community
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Grace evokes gratitude, an overwhelming response to what God has done for us through Christ Jesus.

  1. Why is gratitude the only response to the grace God has shown us through salvation? How often and in what ways do you express your gratitude to him for saving you?
  2. Tim mentioned that gratitude is not simply saying thank you; that good manners doesn’t produce a heart of gratitude. Are your thanksgivings to God heartfelt or perfunctory? Explain.
  3. What is the difference between delighting in the gifts God has blessed us with and delighting in the Giver? Have you ever experienced someone appreciating what you gave to them more than appreciating you as the giver? How did it make you feel? How do you think God feels when we do that to Him?
  4. Read 2 Corinthians 8:9. This verse tells us that Christ has supplied what we do not have, demonstrating to us that it is something we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the kindness and goodness of the giver. Have you ever received a gift that was totally undeserved and unexpected? What was your response? Did it cause you to have a deeper sense of gratitude?
  5. Why is the Eucharist (Communion) the ultimate expression of our gratitude to what Christ has done on our behalf? 

May 21, 2017
A Commissioned Community
Tim Kallam

As a Commissioned Community we have been given a message and belong to a people.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 1 Peter 2:9-10; 2 Timothy 2:24-26

  1. Tim emphasized the importance of the message we have been given to the work we are all commissioned to do. Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. In your own words, what is the substance of the message we are given? What is it about this message that would prompt Paul to again and again state he was not ashamed of the gospel message (Romans 1:16)?
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. How does the message define our mission?
  3. Along with the message, we belong to a people. We are not given the mission to do on our own. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10. Look at each description given to God’s people and discuss how each one helps define how we should pursue our mission.
    1. Chosen Race
    2. Royal Priesthood
    3. Holy Nation
    4. People for God’s own Possession

May 14, 2017
A Compassionate Community
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Compassion recognizes the suffering of others and takes action to do something about it.

  1. Why do you think compassion begins at the cross? Read John 13:34-35.
  2. Read Luke 7:36-50. Tim mentioned that forgiveness unlocks the heart of compassion. Can you remember a time when you were forgiven for doing wrong that led you to become more compassionate?
  3. Discuss the following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:  “Our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done for both of us. This is true not merely at the beginning, as though in the course of time something else were to be added to our community; it remains so for all the future and to all eternity. I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, for eternity.”
  4. Tim mentioned that there are four distinct ways in which compassion flows from us to others: 1.) Doing good to all, especially the family of faith (Galatians 6:10);  2.) Loving selflessly and sacrificially (John 15:13); 3.) Listening empathetically (2 Corinthians 1:3-5); and 4.) Responding compassionately (Luke 10:25-37). Which of those four are characteristic of your life? Which one(s) could stand some improvement?

May 7, 2017
A Compelling Community
Tim Kallam

  1. Read Ephesians 2:13-15. What is the wall of hositility? How has Jesus broken it down?
  2. Name some walls of hostility in your life (examples: race, ethnicity, money, age, position). How can these walls be broken down? Can they?
  3. See Ephesians 2:18-21.  As Christians, we are all united as fellow citizens of the household of God (there is unity in diversity!). Does MBCC look like a household of God? In what ways? In what ways cachange to become more inclusive?
  4. When MBCC is a Christ-centered church, what message does this give to non-believers? Remember the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20). 
  5. What can you do this week to invite someone into our Christ-centered community – at church, school, work, dinner, on the street, or at the coffee shop?

April 23, 2017
25th Anniversary: What Community Is
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Being a community church means tangibly demonstrating the truth of a loving God to a watching world.

  1. Read Matthew 5:16. When it comes to your faith, are you known more for your blessed deeds or more for having a big mouth?
  2. Read Hebrews 12:15. Do you see yourself as a barrier to grace or a bridge? Explain.
  3. Tim mentioned that the early church was one of irresistible influence. Instead of saying look what the world is coming to, they said look at what has come to world. In what way are you being a person of influence for the good of the kingdom and those around you?
  4. Read Philippians 1:9. Is your love for others abounding or has it become stagnant? If it has become stagnant, what steps can you take in order for it to overflow?
  5. Tim mentioned that we should not just love more, but love appropriately. He said our love should be an expression of compelling compassion so others will fully experience the grace of God. How would you categorize your love for others? Does it measure up to that standard? What steps can you take to move toward that expression of compelling compassion for others?
  6. Why is it important for you to be an active participant in extending grace to others? Read 2 Corinthians 4:15.
  7. Discuss the following Andrew Murray quote: “When the world sees a church from which selfishness is banished, then it will acknowledge the divine mission of Christ because he has wrought such a wonder, a community of men [and women] who truly and heartily love one another.”

April 9, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King: The Gospel Truth
Mark 15:6-15; 33-39
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: We were guilty and condemned until Jesus — the Savior, Sovereign and Son of God – rescued us by taking our place.

  1. Just as it important for you to hear the truth from doctors, accountants and various others, why is it more important for you to know the gospel truth?
  2. Read Mark 15:6-15. Have you ever identified yourself with Barabbas, someone who was rebellious, guilty and condemned? Explain.
  3. Jesus took Barabbas’ place on the cross, sparing his life. Have you ever seriously contemplated what it means that Jesus took your place on the cross, becoming sin for you? Read Isaiah 53:5-6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21.
  4. Tim mentioned that Mark’s gospel was intended for us to see Jesus as Savior, Sovereign and the Son of God. Read Mark 1:1; 15:39. Have you settled those truths in your mind? If not, why not? If so, how has it changed your life?

April 2, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King: Agony & Obedience
Tim Kallam

  1. Read Mark 14:35-36. Even though Jesus prayed that “the hour might pass from Him,” He still obeyed God and allowed Himself to be crucified. Why did He obey God? What would have happened if He had not obeyed God?
  2. It’s easy to obey God when we want to. It’s a different story when we don’t want to. Think of a time when it was really hard to obey God. What was the result? Is it always a positive outcome?
  3. Read Mark 14:35-42 and 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Just as Jesus asked God to take away His “cup,” Paul asked God to take away his “thorn.” What is God’s response to Jesus? What is God’s response to Paul? What is your thorn? How can your thorn(s) strengthen (or weaken) your relationship with God?
  4. We are especially weak when we are being tempted to sin. In 2 Cor. 12:10, Paul states that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” What does this mean? Do you feel this way?
  5. See Mark 14:38. Jesus tells the disciples to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” What does He mean by “watch and pray?” Do you do this?

March 26, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King: Why is Jesus So Angry?
Mark 11:15-18
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Jesus gets angry whenever people are exploited and whenever their worship of God is impeded.

  1. Read Mark 11:15-18. Does this story about an angry Jesus make you feel uncomfortable? Why?
  2. Jesus’ anger about what was going on in the temple was righteous indignation. Think about the last time (or times) you got angry about something. Was it righteous indignation or unrighteous indignation?
  3. Does the following quote from Philip Yancey describe you? “Christians get very angry toward other Christians who sin differently than they do.”
  4. In the aforementioned scriptures, we see poor people being exploited and their worship of God impeded. How has the church in the United States lost focus and become a hindrance to people worshiping God? In other words, are there ways we are keeping people from coming to God?
  5. Tim mentioned that many young people are turning their backs on the church. He said their departure could be a result of how the previous generation portrayed church. In your home, do your children see you displaying a rich, vibrant faith with Jesus at the center or do they see an indifferent faith with Jesus pushed to the periphery? What about on your job or time spent with other family and friends?
  6. Read Hebrews 10:1-13. The temple was a place where priests made sacrifices for people’s sins. Why is it important for you to know that Jesus is the fulfillment of the sacrificial system?

March 19, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King
Triumphal Entry
Mark 11:1-11
Tim Kallam

Sermon Theme: The passage this week raises 2 important questions as we follow Christ, our king:
  1. Are we willing to obey our King’s bidding and surrender all we have to him?
  2. Are we wiling to accept Jesus as the King and Savior he is rather than make him into the king we want?
Questions:
  1. Tim mentioned in the sermon how citizens of a kingdom could not refuse the bidding or request of their king. In this passage, when Jesus sends his disciples for the colt he speaks as a king and the owners of the donkey oblige. What does Jesus ask us to give to him as our king?
  2. Discuss the concerns/fears/obstacles might the owners of the donkey have had giving the colt for the use of Jesus. How are these similar to our own when we are asked to give of ourselves to Jesus for his use? How do we overcome these concerns/fears/obstacles?
  3. What kind of king were the crowds expecting and wanting Jesus to be and expect him to do? Read Zechariah 9:9. Discuss the ways that Jesus did not meet their expectations as a King and at the same time is the Messiah King described in Scripture.
  4. Discuss the ways we tend to re-make Jesus into the King we want and how those false versions of Jesus differ from the King who is.

March 12, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King: Riches, Regrets and Rewards
Mark 10:17-31
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Jesus doesn’t want to be an add-on in your life, but instead wants to be the centerpiece.

  1. Read Mark 10:17-22 How would you respond to someone who came to you and asked you “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” How does Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler help you phrase your response?
  2. By asking the rich young ruler questions about keeping commandments, Jesus exposed the intentions of his heart. Tim said he was looking for affirmation rather than self-discovery. Can you think of a time in your life in which you used observing rules and regulations as a way of simply affirming you rather than exposing what was in your heart? How has that changed as you have come to understand what Jesus really requires of you?
  3. Tim mentioned that the rich young ruler’s decision to walk away revealed that he understood exactly what Jesus was asking – that Jesus is not just an add-on. Is Jesus just an add-on in your life? Is there anything in your life you love more than God – even so-called good things such as family and career? What do you fear losing the most? How does that demonstrate what is really important to you?
  4. Read Mark 10:23-31. How does Jesus’ statement that it is difficult for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of God go beneath the surface to show what a person is truly trusting in? What are you trusting in? Money? Status? Power?
  5. In Matthew’s account, Peter in effect asks Jesus’ “What’s in it for me?” (Matthew 19:27). Have you asked that question? What insights can you gain from Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question?

March 5, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King
Greatness Redefined
Tim Kallam

  1. Read Mark 9:33-34. The disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. It’s easy for us to think they were ridiculous for arguing about this in the presence of Jesus, but we are very much like the disciples. What are some ways that we compare ourselves to others (to determine who is greater)? How does this hurt our witness to nonbelievers?
  2. See Mark 9:35. What was Jesus’ answer to their argument? Is this answer popular in our world today? Why is it hard to be a servant (in work, family life, church, community, government)? What might be the outcome (positive or negative) if we were committed to being servants in these areas?
  3. Read Mark 10:35-45. In verses 43-44, Jesus teaches that in order to be great a person must be a servant or a slave. Can we do this on our own? Should we?
  4. See Mark 10:45. Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many. Christianity is about sacrifice. What are you sacrificing in your life when you to choose to follow Jesus? Do you receive anything in return? Is it worth it?
  5. In Mark 10:45, the word “ransom” refers to buying the freedom of a slave or a prisoner. How were we slaves and prisoners? Do we still struggle with this slavery/prison? See Romans 6:7,14.

February 26, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King: The Bridge
Mark 9:2-13
Kevin DeLaney

Sermon thought: Seeing the power and glory of Jesus enables us to endure the difficulties of life.

  1. Toward the end of Mark 8, Jesus tells His disciples that He would suffer, be rejected, be killed and be resurrected. At that time, His disciples didn’t understand the concept of a suffering savior. So, in light of that, how does the transfiguration described in Mark 9:2-13 provide them a reminder of just who He? In what way does it provide you a reminder of who He is?
  2. Seeing Christ in His glory left Peter, James and John terrified and was a transforming experience for them (read John 1:14 and 2 Peter 1:16-18). Have you gotten a glimpse of who Jesus really is by reading the scriptures? How did you react? In what way has it transformed your life?
  3. In Mark 9:7-8, God instructs the disciples (and us) to listen to His beloved son. Listening implies following Jesus closely and doing what He says. How often have you failed to truly listen to Him, gone your own separate way and operated separately from Him? What was the result of your disobedience? Did you repent and follow Jesus more closely?
  4. In verse 9, Jesus insisted that the three disciples not tell anyone about what they had seen until after His resurrection. Why do you think He did that? Would you have been able to keep it to yourself and not tell someone immediately?
  5. Kevin mentioned that Jesus’ transfiguration (a mountaintop experience) built a bridge between our sin (life in the valley) and forgiveness. Why is it important for you to remember that as you go about your daily life?

February 19, 2017
The Mission
Mission Sunday
Acts 1:8
Marcus Busenitz

Sermon Thought: Christ has called us to complete His mission of proclaiming the Gospel to all nations, he has asked the Church to complete the “unfinished business.”

  1. Starter question: When you have an unfinished task, or some kind of unfinished business, how do you usually respond? Do you find it easy to ignore, or does it bother you?
  2. In Acts 1:8, Jesus explains how we are to complete this mission. Use the questions “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How,” to talk about your role in this process.
    1. Who: How has God already used you to proclaim his Gospel? Who do you know personally that needs to hear this Good News?
    2. What: Proclaiming the good news (“be my witnesses”)—how, in word and deed, do you currently proclaim the Good News about Jesus? Or how can you do it this week? This month?
    3. When: God has called ever believer to start making disciples “as soon as the Holy Spirit comes upon them,” in other words as soon as they trust Christ and he comes to live inside them. When did this happen for you? When did you come to know Christ? How did it happen?
    4. Where: Where does God want you to go long term to spread his gospel? Where can you go in the next 12 months to get out of your normal routine/setting in order to be a part of proclaiming the gospel, advancing the mission?
    5. Why: Why do you think God left this task to us, the Church? Why didn’t Jesus just stay on earth until it was completed?
    6. How: We are told that this will only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. What are some ways that you can depend on the Holy Spirit and his power as you seek to advance the Gospel?

February 12, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King
The Turning Point
Mark 8
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Jesus opens our eyes so we can know who he is, what he has done and how we should follow him.

  1. In the first 21 verses of Mark 8, the disciples’ (and ours) cluelessness is on display, as evident by the questions in verses 4, 12, 17-18, and 21. Why are we so forgetful or why do we have such short memories when it comes to what God has done for us?
  2. Tim mentioned that it takes divine intervention so we can hear and see things clearly. Read Luke 24:25-32. Can you point to an incident in your life when God opened your ears and eyes so that you could hear and see things clearly? Explain.
  3. Read Mark 8:27-30. How would you respond to Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” Why would your answer be the most important answer of your life?
  4. In Mark 8:31-33, Jesus explains his mission, but the disciples, especially Peter, don’t get it and have to be rebuked. What is your image of Jesus and his mission? How has your mind changed about it over the years? Has he ever had to rebuke you (through the scriptures) for your mistaken or misguided thoughts about his mission?
  5. Read Mark 8:34-38. For a follower of Christ, why is truly living connected to surrendering all?
  6. Ponder C.S. Lewis’ words from the end of his classic book Mere Christianity: “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death to your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death to your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing.”

February 5, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King
Who Is This?
Tim Kallam

  1. Read the sermon passage for today- Mark 4:35-41. In verses 4:37, 39, and 41, the word “great” is used three times. Notice that the disciples had “great fear” after Jesus calmed the storm. Why was their fear greater after and not before the storm?
  2. The disciples showed a healthy and holy fear of the Lord. What does it mean to fear the Lord? Do you think you really fear the Lord? Does our nation fear Him? Also see Matthew 10:28 and Proverbs 9:10.
  3. We will go through many “storms” in our lives. Even though God loves us, He still allows us to suffer. Give some reasons why.
  4. Jesus wanted the disciples to trust Him completely with every aspect of their lives. What areas are you having trouble with trusting in God (examples: money, time, future plans, daily agenda, family)? How can you start trusting Him more?

January 29, 2017
Following Jesus, the Servant King
Let Me Tell You Why
Mark 2
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Jesus fulfills our deepest needs because He is God in the flesh and our Savior.

  1. In Mark 2, there are four scenarios – a healing, the calling of Levi, fasting, and the Sabbath, and in each there’s a “Why” question (verses 7, 16, 18 and 24). Each scenario reveals who Jesus is. In your life experiences, how has Jesus been revealed and how has he answered your “why” questions?
  2. In the first scenario (verses 1-12), a paralytic man comes to Jesus for healing, yet first receives forgiveness – his greatest need. Is there a situation in your life in which you prayed to God for one thing, but instead received something more needful? Explain.
  3. In the second scenario (verses 13-17), Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to be one of his followers. Levi accepts the invitation, then throws a banquet for his friends, chiefly tax collectors and sinners, with Jesus present. The Pharisees were indignant, showing their self-righteousness and leading to the second “why” question in verse 16. Tim mentioned that self-righteous people are not self-aware. How do you guard against a self-righteous attitude? How do we take the gospel to undesirable sinners if we don’t associate with them?
  4. In the third scenario (verses 18-22), the “why” question is about fasting. Tim mentioned that fasting creates a hunger for God, pointing us to God, the Bread of Life (read John 6:22-35). Why do you think fasting puts the focus on God instead of our wants and desires? Read Matthew 6:16-18 and Zechariah 7:5. Discuss this quote: “The singular purpose of fasting is to become more intimate with God.”
  5. In the fourth and final scenario (verses 23-28), the “why” questions centers on the Sabbath. In what way is the question about the Sabbath a question about obedience? Does obedience make us acceptable to God or do we obey because we have been accepted? Why do you think the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath – as Jesus said in verse 27?

January 22, 2017
The Call
Following Jesus, The Servant King
Mark 1:16-45
Tim Kallam

Theme: The call of Jesus is distinct because the One who calls is Jesus, the Son of God.

  1. Tim made the point that the call of Jesus is an act of grace. Tim described the typical way a student would ask a rabbi to follow him and then how the student would then prove himself worthy to follow the rabbi. How was Jesus call to his disciples different? What does his gracious call mean to us as his followers?
  2. Jesus’ call was primarily to be with him. Why is it important to be with Jesus? How can we spend time with Jesus?
  3. As we spend time with Jesus we are transformed. Jesus told his new disciples, “I will make you become fisher of men.” Why is this so significant to his call?
  4. How is Jesus’ authority displayed in his call, his teaching, and his deeds (Mark 1:18, 20, 22)?
  5. Consider Jesus’ call to you to follow him. Discuss how Jesus’ call to his first followers parallel his call to you to follow him.

January 15, 2017
Following Jesus, The Servant King
Mark 1:1-15
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Jesus is worthy of following because he is savior, sovereign, divine and a great high priest.

  1. Why is the gospel of Jesus Christ good news? What does this good news mean to you? Read Mark 10:45 and 2 Corinthians 5:21
  2. Considering who Jesus is and what he has done, why do you think so many choose not to follow him? If you are a follower of Jesus, why did you choose to follow him?
  3. In Mark 1:1, Jesus is called the Son of God. Why is that part of his identity of the utmost importance to his followers? Read John the Baptizer’s statements about Jesus in Mark 1:7-8 and John 3:25-30.
  4. Read Mark 1:12-13. Why is it important that Jesus faced temptation, but didn’t succumb to it? Read Hebrews 4:14-16 and Hebrews 10:11-14.
  5. After Jesus was baptized, in Mark 1:11 God said, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” What does this mean for Christ’s followers? Read Ephesians 1:3-6, and 1 Peter 2:9-10.

Simple, But Not Easy
Tim Kallam
January 8, 2017

  1. The title for the sermon today was “Simple, but not easy.” In what ways is living the Christian life simple, but not easy?
  2. Read Romans 12:12. Do you put your hope in God or in someone/something else? What happens when we put our hope in something other than God?
  3. Romans 12:12 tells us to be patient in tribulation. There is a purpose in our suffering. Describe a tough time in your life. What did God teach you? Did you grow closer to God? Why or why not?
  4. What does “be constant in prayer” mean (Rom 12:12)? How can you do this in your life? What can you do when you feel like you just can’t pray – see Romans 8:26.
  5. Memorize Romans 12:12 this new year! Discuss some changes you can make in your life in order to follow this verse.

The Hopes & Fears of All the Years
Tim Kallam
December 18, 2016
4th Sunday of Advent – Love

Theme: How does Christmas invite us into the love of God?

Scripture: Luke 2:15-21; Matthew 2:1-6; Micah 5:2

Questions:

1. Think of some circumstances you have feared in the last year (or in your life). In those circumstances, what was the source of your fear or anxiety?

2. Micah 5:2 describes Bethlehem as the least among Judah. What do we learn about God and his love by Christ being born in Bethlehem instead of a more prominent place to more “important” people?

3.Read Luke 2:15-21. When the shepherds heard from the angels that the Messiah had been born, they went immediately to see. Why did the shepherds go with haste to see what had happened?

4. Read Matthew 2:1-6. The scribes and priests in Herod’s court knew the prophecies concerning the birth of the Messiah and where he would be born. What are reasons they were left unaffected by the announcement from the magi that he had been born?


Comfort and Joyful and Triumphant
Luke 2:8-20
Tim Kallam
December 11, 2016

Sermon thought: True joy transcends our circumstances and supersedes life’s events.

  1.  Why does true joy seem as elusive as the morning mist?
  1.  What is the source of true joy? Read Luke 2:8-11
  1.  Tim mentioned four essential elements about “good news”: 1.) Good news must be true news; 2.) Good news is universal in its appeal; 3.) Good news is personal in its application; and 4.) Good news produces joy. Why are each of these elements necessary to experience joy to the fullest?
  1. English writer and theologian G.K. Chesterton said, “Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial.” So, how is it possible to be in deep grief and still experience the joy of the Lord? Read Psalm 16:11 and Psalm 30:5.
  1. Why is heartfelt worship the appropriate response to the great joy that good news produces? In what way does joyful worship in the present point us to the ultimate joy of eternity? Meditate on this quote from Eugene Peterson: “Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God; it whets our appetite.”


“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
Tim Kallam
December 4, 2016

  1. Are you focused on Jesus this Christmas season?  Why or why not?
  2. Review this verse of “I Heard the Bells of Christmas Day”:
    1. And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
    2. Now read Jeremiah 6:13-14.  These sentiments about peace were true in Jeremiah’s time and they are still true today.  How has Jesus’ death and resurrection provided peace when there is no peace?
  3. Read Colossians 1:15-20 and John 14:25-27.  What has God done to make everlasting peace with us?
  4. Read the last verse of “I Heard the Bells of Christmas Day”:
    1. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
    2. How does this promise help you to focus more on Jesus this season?  How can you use this knowledge to share the gospel message with someone?


“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
Isaiah 7:1-17
Marcus Busenitz
November 27, 2016

Sermon Thought: We are called to place our hope in Christ alone.

  1. “Hope” for a Christian is a confident expectation of something that God has promised. How does this contrast with the way that the word “hope” is frequently used in conversation today?
  2. Read Matthew 1:18-25. Immanuel is one of the names that is used to describe Jesus, it means “God with us.” God promised to be with his people many times in the Old Testament. How is Christ’s coming different than these promises?
  3. Read Isaiah 7:1-9. 2 Kings 16:7-11. God invites Ahaz to place his hope in God alone, but Ahaz turns to the King of Assyria instead.  Misplaced hope is hope that is placed in anything other than God for security. Do you find yourself tempted to place your hope in these items? How?
    1. Money
    2. People
    3. Yourself
  4. John Piper says, “Hope is faith in the future tense.” Discuss the difference between hope and faith. Why are both important in your life circumstances?
  5. In Isaiah 7, a “misplaced hope” is contrasted with a “secure hope.” Reflect on these descriptions of “secure hope.” What would be an example of “misplaced hope” or doubt that would contrast with each one?
    1. Secure hope is the confident expectation that God will forgive sins and provide eternal life for anyone who places their hope in Immanuel, Jesus Christ.
    2. Secure hope is the confident expectation that God is present in our lives daily because of the work of His son, Immanuel, Jesus Christ.
    3. Secure hope is the confident expectation that Immanuel, Jesus Christ, will come again and restore all things.

Failure & Forgiveness
A Heart for God
Tim Kallam
November 20, 2016

Scripture: 2 Samuel 11-12:15; Psalm 51

Theme: 2 Ways of Reading the Story

1. A warning to avoid sin and the consequences that follow sin.
2. A rescue offering hope to the sinner.

Questions:

1. Tim mentioned 5 points of warning in the first scene of the story: neglected responsibility, no accountability, ignored. vulnerability, compromised integrity, and abuse of power. How did each of these points contribute to David’s sin? What areas of your life do you see these threats in your own life and how are you prepared to meet these threats?

2. In the second scene of the story, David attempts to cover up his sin resulting in the death of Uriah. Why do our attempts to cover up sin always fail?

3. In the third and final scene David is confronted by Nathan. What do learn about confronting sin from Nathan, both in ourselves and confronting the sin of brothers and sisters?

4. Read Psalm 51. Reflect together on what the state of David’s heart was during this ordeal. Where was his heart in each scene of the story? How would you describe his state of mind in each of the 3 scenes of the story? How does this story help you better understand your own heart and the heart of God?


What Now?
Tim Kallam
November 13, 2016
Luke 10:25-37

Sermon thought: Christians have been called to a higher standard than the world around us, so we need to make sure we are people of grace and truth, keeping both in balance.  In the wake of a polarizing presidential election, we were instructed to 1.) Reaffirm our hope in God; 2.) Refocus on our mission; and 3.) Renew our vision for the church.

1. Why is it important for you to let others around you know about your hope in God? Read Lamentations 3:21-24 and 1 Peter 3:14-16.

2. Why is it important for us to have a clear understanding of our mission in the kingdom of God? Why is the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37 a good illustration to help us remember our mission?

3. Tim mentioned two guardrails as we carry out our mission: The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)? Why are those guardrails important in carrying out our mission?

4. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Paul explains that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. What are you doing with the message of reconciliation?

5. How does the following quote from Eugene Peterson’s book Practice Resurrection help us to renew our vision for the church?

“So, why church? The short answer is because the Holy Spirit formed it to be a colony of heaven in the country of death. … Church is the core element in the strategy of the Holy Spirit for providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world. It is not that kingdom complete, but it is a witness to that kingdom.… Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines. … The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.”


A Heart for God
Out of the Sheepfolds
Tim Kallam
November 6, 2016

1 – Read 2 Samuel 5:12.  Who appointed David as King of Israel?  Why was he appointed to this position? What does 5:12b mean?

2 – Regardless of your season of life/work/school situation, God has appointed you for the sake of influencing others (just like David).  What are your gifts/talents?  How can you use them to be an influence for God?

3 – Read Philippians 2:3-11. According to verses 3-4, what kind of attitude should you have throughout your life, regardless of whether or not God puts you in the position of King?  How easy/hard is it to maintain this attitude daily?

4 – Read Acts 13:36.  David died after he “had served the purpose of God in his own generation.”  Will the same be said about you? Why or why not?

5 – Today we sang the words, “Lord, I need you.  Every hour I need you.”  Do you really need God?  Do you live your life believing you have it all under control?  Or do you trust God to lead your life?


A Heart for God
A Picture of Grace
Tim Kallam
October 30, 2016
2 Samuel 9 (1 Samuel 23:15; 24:20; 20:12; 2 Samuel 4:4)

Theme: Grace is kindness shown to someone who does not deserve it, cannot earn it, and cannot repay it.

1. Read 2 Samuel 9 and 2 Samuel 4:4 then discuss the life of Mephibosheth. How did his life circumstances define him as a person before he was sought out by David? How was his life defined after he was sought out by David?

2. Discuss the ways Mephibosheth’s story parallels our own stories and experiences of God’s grace.

3. What does it look like for us as recipients of God’s loving kindness and grace to show that same kindness and grace to others?


A Heart for God
Strength from God
Tim Kallam
October 23, 2016
I Samuel 18—30; Psalms 7, 27, 54, 57, 59, 142

Sermon thought: In the midst of difficult circumstances, we should draw our strength from God.

  1. In 1 Samuel 18:7-11 and 1 Samuel 19:9-10, we see King Saul’s outrage toward David on display, but David is faithfully serving him by playing music. Is it difficult for you to serve others in the midst of trying situations? Why or why not?
  2. In chapters 18-26 in I Samuel, we find David running for his life from an insanely jealous Saul and twice in chapters 24 and 26 David has a chance to kill, but doesn’t do it. Instead he trusted God to handle matters. When someone has wronged you and you have an opportunity to take revenge, do you take revenge or do you entrust the situation to God? Read 1 Peter 2:21-23.
  3. In the Psalms listed above, we find David honestly pouring out his heart to God about what is happening to him while he is running for his life. And we see David finding strength to continue by holding on to the promises of God and God’s faithful presence. Why does it seem so difficult for you to cry out honesty to God when life’s difficulties come crashing in on you? Do you simply complain about what’s happening to you and give up, or do you draw strength from God’s promises and faithful presence to keep going?
  4. In 1 Samuel 23:15-18, we see Saul’s son Jonathan reminding David of God’s truth and encouraging him? Are you someone who encourages someone else when their life has become painfully and hurtfully difficult? Is there someone who has been an encourager to/for you?
  5. Read 1 Samuel 30:1-6. We ultimately draw our strength from God (v. 6). Have you, at any time, discovered that God is all you need when God is all you have? Explain.

A Heart for God
From Faith to Fear
October 16, 2016

5 points:
1. Fear feeds fear (I Sam. 17: 8-11, 24). Where have you seen examples of this in your life, or in our culture?

2. Our focus determines if we face something with fear or with faith (1 Sam 17:26). David focused on God, the Israelites focused on the giant. What “giants” are you tempted to focus on in your life (in the past, or in the present)?

3. Refuse to listen to the voices of discouragement (1 Sam 17:30). What are some effective ways that you have found to “drown out” these voices of discouragement?

4. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past to gain (God-)confidence for the future (1 Sam 17:37). Name some examples of God’s faithfulness in your life.

5. Rely on God’s strength, because He is. . . The Hero of the Story! (1 Sam 17:45) In 2 Sam 21:15-22, we see lots of giant killers in Israel now, because courage inspires courage! Where have you seen examples of courage inspiring courage in your life, or in our culture?

Final question: Why do you think God wanted you to hear this sermon and well-known Bible story this week?


A Heart for God
Enlarge My Heart
October 9, 2016
Acts 13:22, 36; Psalm 119:32; John 14:21-24

Sermon thought: A heart for God is exemplified by knowing Him, loving Him, trusting Him and obeying Him.

1. In Acts 13:22, David was described as a man after God’s own heart. What is the condition of your heart as it relates to God? Have you ever prayed for God to give you a heart for Him?

2. In Psalm 119:32, the psalmist expresses his desire for an enlarged heart, so he would have a greater capacity for the truth of God’s word. How would your life change if you asked God to do the same for you?

3. In Acts 13:36 it says David “served the purpose of God in his own generation.” Do you think you are serving the purposes of God in this generation? Why or why not?

4. Read John 14:21-24. Why do you think obedience is the hallmark of our love for Jesus?

5. Discuss this quote from American Author-Poet Carl Sandburg: “A tree is best measured when it is down – and so it is with people.”


A Heart for God
Lessons from the Life of David
October 2, 2016

1.See Acts 13:22. David was a “man after God’s own heart.” How can studying the life (and heart) of David give us hope in our lives? Hint: David wasn’t perfect.

2. In 1 Samuel 8:5, the Israelite people decide they want a king “to judge us like all the nations.” They make this decision based on their own desires instead of God’s. Can you think of a time when you decided to follow your own path (ignoring God’s plan for you)? What was the result? Would you choose differently now, if you could?

3. God appoints David to replace Saul as king. Read 1 Samuel 16:7. God looks at man’s heart and not his outward appearance. How can we apply this truth in our personal relationships?

4. A person after God’s own heart is humble. Read 1 Samuel 16:19-21. In what ways did David demonstrate humility? Are you a humble person? Give some examples. What are some practical ways we can show genuine humility in our daily lives?

5. David was passionate about God. Read Psalm 103:1-5. What does it mean to be passionate about God? Do you think our church shows this kind of passion on Sundays and throughout the week? Why or why not?


Walk in Wisdom
Ben Telfair
September 25, 2016
Colossians 4:5-6

Sermon thought: Engaging the culture requires wise living, gracious speech and a winsome personality.

1. Why should cultural engagement be seen as a component of the great commission mentioned in Matthew 28:19-20? Why should we view it as a community project instead of an individual endeavor?

2. Read Colossians 1:9-10, 1:28-29, 2:3, 3:16, 4:5. Why should everything Christians do be characterized by wisdom (skillful living) before a watching world?

3. When sharing the gospel with “outsiders,” why should we view it as a process and not just a presentation. Why should we do it creatively, engaging not only the intellect, but also the imagination?

4. Read Colossians 4:6 and Proverbs 15:1-3. Why is the tone of what we say to others just as important as what we say – even if it’s the truth?


Made to Worship: The Expectant Worshiper
Tim Kallam
September 18, 2016
Matthew 22:37-40

Psalm 122; 34; 100
Revelation 21

Sermon Thought:  Tim summarized his sermon theme with the quote from Eugene Peterson: “Worship is not meant to satisfy our hunger for God, but whets our appetite for God.”

In other words, worship is not a task we perform as an end to itself, but a way of living that makes us fall more in love with God and grow more captivated by him.

Questions:

1. Tim quoted James K.A. Smith as saying, “It is not a question of if we will love something ultimate but what do we love as ultimate?” It has been a common theme over the past several weeks that it is ingrained in us as humans to love and worship something in a quest for meaning. How is worshiping the one true God different from worshiping the counterfeit gods of power, wealth, and pleasure?

2. Distractions are ever present in worship and threaten to detract from the expectant nature of worship. What are common distractions you face as you enter times set aside for worship?  Discuss how these distractions can be overcome and how we can have a heart prepared and expectant to commune with the Triune God.

3. Tim alluded to 2 levels of expectation we experience as we enter corporate worship. There is an immediate level of expectation anticipating meeting the one living God here and now, and there is an eternal expectation anticipating what God is doing and will accomplish.  Read Psalms 34, 100, and 122 and discuss our immediate expectation in worship. Read Revelation 21 and discuss our eternal expectation in worship.

4. After your discussion, how would you describe the heart of the expectant worshiper?

 



Made to Worship: The Undaunted Worshiper
Tim Kallam
September 11, 2016
Psalms 13 and 42; Lamentations 3:1-24

Sermon thought: Undaunted worship is characterized by honesty and hopefulness.

1. Why is it easier to associate praise and worship with good times rather than times of adversity?

2.In Lamentations 3:17, the prophet Jeremiah gives an honest appraisal of his feelings. When you are facing difficulties, disappointments and dangers, do you honestly express your feelings to God or do you lean toward discouragement and self-pity? Why or why not?

3. Discuss this quote from D.A. Carson: “There is no attempt in Scripture to whitewash the anguish of God’s people when they undergo suffering. They argue with God, they complain to God, they weep before God. Theirs is not a faith that leads to dry-eyed stoicism, but a faith so robust it wrestles with God.”

4. Read Psalm 13:5-6, Psalm 42:5 and Lamentations 3:21-24. What was the source of hope for the psalmists and prophet Jeremiah? Is your hope rooted in God?

5. Why do you think it’s better to preach to yourself than listen to yourself when you are discouraged


January 17, 2016
Prayer: Always Pray and Never Give Up
Luke 18:1-8
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Enduring life’s ups and downs require praying without ceasing.

1.At the end of Luke 17 (verses 20-37), Jesus speaks about the end times and how difficult life will be then. But there will be a delay before those things happen. How do you endure in difficult circumstances and not give up?Read Luke 18:1-7. Why is persistent prayer so important when we encounter hardships?

2. The “helpless” widow in Jesus’ parable repeatedly went to the “powerful” judge seeking justice for her situation. How long have you been going to God in prayer, seeking an answer for your circumstances? What keeps you from saying it’s no use and giving up?

3. Discuss Walter Henrichsen’s quote that “Christianity is a religion of rescue, designed for the desperate.”

4. Unlike the “heartless” judge, God loves and cares about us, and responds to us in our helplessness. So why is the saying “God helps those who help themselves” incompatible with what scripture teaches about God?

5. During the delays when it seems like God is not answering our prayers, we are instructed to “lean in” to the Lord, which strengthens our faith; “long for” the day when justice will be served; and “hold on” to our God, who is good, who loves us and who does what’s best for us. How does those three directives encourage you to keep praying in any and all situations?

6. If Jesus came to visit you today, would he discover that you trust him and that you are prayerful?


December 20, 2015
What Child is This
Tim Kallam

1.Read Isaiah 7:11-14. How does the birth of Immanuel affect your life today? Does God being with us change the way you approach difficult situations as well as ordinary, mundane day-to-day living?

2. Read Isaiah 8:22 – 9:1-7. During seemingly hopeless circumstances, do you find your hope in Jesus? Does He respond to you in unexpected ways?

3. When you are uncertain about what to do in difficult situations, do you turn to the “Wonderful Counselor” first for advice or do you go elsewhere? Read Psalm 32:8.

4. Jesus is described as “Mighty God” in Isaiah 9:6, which means that He is a champion warrior. Do you turn to Him to fight your battles or do you try to handle them yourself without any assistance from Him?

5. Jesus also is called the “Everlasting Father,” an idiom that is used for king? Do you view your Father/King as a protector, provider and benevolent leader in each area of your life?

6. Isaiah mentioned that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” In a world filled with conflicts, do you find that Christ’s presence in your life brings you peace – despite the troubles? Read John 14:27.

7. Read Matthew 1:20-21. Why did the world need a Savior? Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior?


December 6, 2015
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Tim Kallam

      1. Read Ephesians 5:19. Regarding this verse, why is it important to understand and be aware of what we sing in hymns, praise songs, etc…
      2. In “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” we sing “God and sinners reconciled.” What biblical truth does this verse teach? See 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
      3. 2 Corinthians 5:20 reminds us of the urgency we need to have in sharing Jesus with others. Do you tell other people about Jesus? If yes, share some examples. If no, why not?
      4. See Philippians 4:7 and 9. Notice the phrases “peace of God” and “God of peace.” How do these phrases differ? How does the knowledge of God’s peace give you hope in difficult circumstances?
      5. In “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” we sing the phrase “Hail the Heaven born Prince of Peace.” The Bible tells us that one day every knee will bow and confess that He is Lord (Romans 14:10). Are you ready for this day? Why or why not?

November 15, 2015
Elect Exiles: In Community
Kevin DeLaney

      1. Read 1 Peter 4:1-2. What is your attitude toward suffering? Have you “armed” yourself for battle during difficult times and circumstances?
      2. What is your attitude toward sin? Do you see it as God sees it?
      3. Read 1 Peter 4:3-4. Do you struggle to let go of the sinful passions that used to characterize your life? What will it take for you to let go of the things that Peter says war against your soul (1 Peter 2:11)?
      4. How do you handle the reactions of non-believers when you decide to live godly and they expect you to live worldly?
      5. Read 1 Peter 4:7-11. Why are prayer, sacrificial love and intentional service critical to living in community amongbelievers? What message does that send to non-believers?

November 1, 2015
Elect Exiles: Countercultural Relationships
Tim Kallam

      1. Read 1 Peter 2:12.  Why should we keep our conduct honorable? Name a time this past week that you struggled with this.
      2. Review 1 Peter 2:16.  Instead of focusing on ourselves, this verse reminds us to use our freedom in Christ to put others first. How is this contrary to our culture?  Name some circumstances where this can be especially hard.
      3. Peter tells us to conduct ourselves honorably as citizens and in the workplace.  See 1 Peter 2:13-14 and 2:18. We are ultimately working for the Lord – not for a boss or a customer. Do you struggle to be a Christian example as a citizen or in the workplace? How?  Discuss some ways you can change your conduct and how these changes might make an impact for God’s kingdom.
      4. Look at 1 Peter 3:1-7.  Peter also wants us to be an example of Jesus in our homes. These verses are referring to a husband and wife, but can they also be applied to our extended families and friends?  How?
      5. Do you often invite nonbelievers into your home in order to develop relationships with them?  What will they see in your house, and in your family interactions, that will point them to Jesus?
      6. Many times we look at other people through binoculars, pointing out how they need to change. Instead we should put the binoculars down, look in the mirror and ask God to change us from the inside out. Only the Holy Spirit can change our hearts to be more like Christ and use us to point others to Him. Commit this week to ask the Holy Spirit each day to change your heart and conduct to be more like Christ.

October 25, 2015
Elect Exiles: Redemptive Suffering
1 Peter 4:12-13
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Christians should suffer in a way that expresses their beliefs.

          1. Are you surprised when trials come into your life? Do you ask why me? Or do you ask why not me? Read John 16:33 and 1 Peter 3:17.
          2. Discuss Tim Keller’s quote: “Suffering is actually at the heart of the Christian story.”
          3. Since suffering is probable, do you have difficulty acknowledging that it is painful and purposeful? Do you minimize or trivialize the pain? Do you adopt a victim mentality or see sufferingas part of God’s plan?
          4. Do you believe that Christians in America are prepared for the suffering that will be experienced in this country?
          5. In what way does suffering deepen our trust and strengthen our witness?Read 1 Peter 2:20-24.
          6. Read 1 Peter 13-16. Have you ever had anyone to ask you about the hope you have? If yes, how did you respond? If no, how do you think you would respond?

Elect Exiles: Living Holy
Joel Busby

          1. Read 1 Peter 1:15.  What does “holy” mean to you?  Can anyone ever really be holy?
          2. Many people believe being holy means following a list of rules for good behavior. But here, Peter is talking about something much more. Review 1 Peter 1:22-23 and discuss how this relates to Peter’s definition of “holiness.”
          3. See 1 Peter 1:13, 1:22 and 2:1.  Holiness is a process. Where are you in this process right now?
          4. If you feel discouraged in your progression toward holiness, how might 1 Peter 1:24 encourage you?
          5. In 1 Peter 1:1 and 1:17, Peter calls his readers “exiles.”  This is probably because he knows they feel ostracized from their communities as they strive toward holiness. How does Peter reassure them (review 1 Peter 1:17-20)?  How does this encourage you as you strive for holiness in the world we live in today?

Elect Exiles: A Living Hope
1 Peter 1:3-9
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: If we put our hope in anything other than Jesus Christ, we will be disappointed.

          1. What do you think SHOULD be the most prominent feature of Christ’s followers? If you asked unbelieving neighbors, what would they say IS the most prominent?
          2. We are hope-based creatures. What are some of the things in which humans often place their hope? In what “counterfeit(s)” are you tempted to place your hope?
          3. Read 1 Peter 1:3-5. Where does God tell us to place our hope? How does this change the way you see all the other “counterfeit” hopes?
          4. Look at v.7 . How does your hope in Christ affect the way you endure difficulties?
          5. Make a list of things that are true about God in these verses (example: he is full of mercy v.3). Which of these qualities resonates the most with you right now? Why?
          6. Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for the things that are true about him (question #5), and also for the hope that he has given us.

September 20, 2015
Lessons from 1 Peter: Elect Exiles
Tim Kallam
1 Peter 1:1-2

Sermon thought: Christians should consider themselves resident aliens in a foreign world, who engage the community for the glory of God and the benefit of others.

          1. Read 1 Peter 1:1-2, preferably in the ESV and NASB. In what way are Christians both elect (chosen) and exiles (aliens) in the society we live in today?
          2. Philippians 3:20 states that our citizenship is in heaven, meaning we have dual citizenship. How does being heavenly citizens enable us to be better earthly citizens in whatever community we live in?
          3. Read Jeremiah 29:1-14, paying particular attention to verses 4-8. As resident exiles ourselves, which of following three extremes are the most difficult for you to avoid: a) Withdrawal, b) Assimilation, or c) Accommodation.
          4. Why do you think “engaged alienation” (seeking the welfare of the city where you live) is so important for Christians in our society and around the world? Why is how we do things just as important as what we do?
          5. When engaging our community, we should be: a) faithful in ordinary things; b) servant-minded; c) discerning and d) hopeful. Which of those are you already doing, which of those do you struggle with, which of those do you need to start doing?

September 13, 2015
“Transforming Grace: Communities of Change, Change Communities”
Tim Kallam

          1. Read Acts 17:1-9. Several Jews accused Paul and Silas of “turning the world upside down” because of how Christ changed their lives. Do you think people would say this about you? What has changed in your life that would make others see Jesus in you? What still needs to change to make you more like Christ?
          2. Review Acts 4:11-13. Jesus caused these men to change their lives so drastically that others would see a huge difference.  He took uneducated, common men and transformed them. Does this knowledge encourage you?
          3. Tim Kimmel defines love as “the commitment of your will to the needs and best interests of others regardless of the costs to you.” With this definition in mind, review and discuss John 13:34-35.
          4. When asked what was wrong with the world, G.K. Chesterton answered, “I am.” Do you believe this is true about yourself?  Change must start in our own hearts. Read Philippians 2:3-7.  According to these verses, what does a person who loves others like Jesus look like?
          5. Give some examples of ways you can show this selfless, humble and sacrificial love to other people.

September 6, 2015
“Transforming Grace: Trials and Transformation”
James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God uses trials and adversity as part of the path to transformation.

          1. Our culture pursues pleasure at all costs, and flees pain at all costs. Where have you seen examples of either one of these? Why do you think this is true?
          2. Read Isaiah 43:2. Pain deepens our trust in God. What are some of the trials that God has brought you through, and how did you respond?
          3. Read Romans 5:3-5. How does pain humble us and point us to God? Has this ever happened to you?
          4. Read James 1:2-4. God uses pain to make us stronger, more resilient. In what areas has God used pain to make you stronger?
          5. Pain makes us more selfless, sympathetic to others. Is there someone specific who you can comfort because they are enduring pain similar to pain that you have endured in the past? Someone who has comforted you in this way?

August 30, 2015
“Transforming Grace: The Holy Spirit and Transformation”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The Holy Spirit enables the process of transformation in the life of the believer, and we must depend on him.

          1. How do you react to this statement: “Discipleship is not a curriculum, not a set of books, not a program that you complete. It is a lifelong process of transformation.”
          2. Read John 14:26. The Holy Spirit will help us to remember all that Jesus taught. Can you think of a time when you saw this happen in your life?
          3. Have you ever wished that Jesus was sitting beside you in person? Read John 16:7. How is it possible that it is better for Jesus to go away than to be here physically?
          4. Look at Galatians 5:16-25. The idea of walking with the Spirit means that he gives you a direction, and also gives you the power to walk. In this passage, what direction or instructions does the Spirit give you?
          5. Also in this passage, how does the Holy Spirit fill you with the ability to follow Jesus?
          6. Pray that you will rely on God’s Holy Spirit as you live life and advance the gospel.

August 16, 2015
Transforming Grace
So Help Me God!
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: If we’re going to become what God wants us to become, we need God’s help.

          1.  Although there are many self-help books (some of them best-sellers) on the market, why are they found wanting when it comes to helping a Christian become more Christ-like?
          2. Read Romans 7:15-20. Why do we, like Paul, struggle to do the things we want to do and find ourselves doing the very things we don’t want to do? What things are you struggling with right now?
          3. Why do you think transformation is neither instant nor easy?
          4. Why do our best efforts to change ourselves often end up in frustration, exhaustion and desperation? Read Galatians 3:2-3
          5. Why does God allow us to reach the point of desperation when we try our best to transform our lives?
          6. What is the solution for our desperation? Read Romans 7:24—Romans 8:4

August 2, 2015
An Answer for Anxiety
Psalm 121
Joel Busby

  1. Read Psalm 121.  The psalmist focuses on worry and anxiety.  Name something you are worried or anxious about today.  How do you plan to deal with your worry/anxiety?  How do you think God wants you to deal with these worries/fears?
  2. Psalm 121: 2 reminds us that the Lord will help us with our struggles and problems.  What do verses 2 and 3 tell us about God, that should convince us He is capable of handling our problems?
  3. Psalm 121 does not promise us a life free of worry and problems when we follow Him. In fact, it indicates just the opposite – that we are going to need help in our lives. Psalm 121 reminds us that God will keep us safe no matter what happens. Read verses 7 and 8. Does this knowledge comfort you?
  4. Psalm 121: 5 tells us that God is our keeper.  He keeps watch over us and protects us.  We are safe with Him!  Name a time when God kept watch over you when you were worried, stressed or going through a tough time. How did God use these circumstances for good?
  5. Even though there is sin, evil and death everywhere we look, we can take comfort in the fact that God is our keeper and protector.  His ultimate protection is through Jesus Christ.  Psalm 121: 8 (ESV) says, “the Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”  In what way might this verse remind us of Christ?

July 19, 2015
Honesty & Hope
Psalm 13
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Be honest in pain, earnest in prayer and steadfast in praise.

              1. Describe how the Psalms speak to us and speak for us?
              2. Psalm 13 is a lament. Do you think this form of expression in scripture has lost its relevance among Christians living in western culture? If so, why?
              3. Discuss the following D.A. Carson quote: “There is no attempt in Scripture to whitewash the anguish of God’s people when they undergo suffering. They argue with God, they complain to God, they weep before God. Theirs is not a faith that leads to dry-eyed stoicism, but to a faith so robust it wrestles with God.”
              4. Psalm 13 can be divided into three couplets – pain (verses 1-2), prayer (verses 3-4) and praise (verses 5-6). Which one of those most expresses your emotional state at the moment?
              5. In verses 1-2, four times the psalmist cries out “how long” and God seemingly is silent? How do you handle God’s silence in your times of crisis? Do you lose hope or do you keep crying out to God, patiently waiting for His response? Read Romans 12:12.
              6. In verses 3-4, the psalmist turns to God and prays earnestly. Why do you think it is necessary for us to earnestly pray even when we don’t feel like it.  Read John 6:66-69.
              7. Discuss Matthew Henry’s quote: “Days of trouble must be days of prayer; when God seems to have withdrawn from us, we must seek him till we find him.”
              8. In verses 5-6, the psalmist turns his heart to praise even though scripture does not mention that his circumstances have changed. Are you steadfast in praise in both good times and bad? Read Lamentations 3:17-25.
              9. Why do you think praise is described as an aggressive expression of spiritual confidence and trust in God?
              10. In our Christian journey, why is it important to recall God’s faithfulness in the past, reaffirm His love in the present and rest in His deliverance in the future?

July 5, 2015
Unashamed: Faithful to the End
2 Timothy 4:9-22
Marcus Busenitz

              1. See 2 Timothy 4:18 and Colossians 1:13. Paul talks a lot about how God rescues him. What does the word “rescue” mean to you? What do you need God to rescue you from?
              2. Paul is sure that God will rescue him from future dangers and from sin because He rescued him in the past. Is this true for your life?  Share about a situation where God has rescued you.
              3. We know that God rescued Paul from both external (difficult circumstances) and internal (sin) dangers. This knowledge should encourage us to live with hope – not worry or fear.  Is your life absent of worry and fear?  Why or why not?
              4. See 2 Timothy 4:17-22. The reason God rescued Paul (and will rescue us) is so that God can be glorified and that more people will believe in Him.   God used Paul to spread the gospel to these people and many others. In turn, these people will share the news.  Who has God put in your life right now to share the gospel with?
              5. God’s faithfulness and glory motivated Paul to stay unashamed of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:12).  What motivates you?

June 21, 2015
Unashamed: The Value of Encouragement
2 Timothy 3:10-17
Kevin Delaney

Sermon thought: Our lives should be an example of encouragement to others, especially fellow believers.

              1. In 2 Timothy 3:10, the Apostle Paul uses himself as an example to encourage Timothy, listing teaching, conduct, faith, patience, love and endurance among his virtues. What virtues in your life would be an encouragement to someone else?
              2. In 2 Timothy 3:11, Paul gives Timothy a list of the persecutions and sufferings he had endured and mentioned how the Lord rescued him from all of them. What kind of sufferings (or persecutions) have you endured and how have you seen the Lord work on your behalf? How can you use your sufferings as an encouragement for others?
              3. In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul writes that Christians should expect to be persecuted. Why do you think that is? Have you been persecuted for your faith and if so, in what way?
              4. In 2 Timothy 3:13, Paul paints a gloomy picture of evil people going from bad to worse. Why do you think that is? Can you cite any examples?
              5. In 2 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul encourages Timothy to continue, especially in light of what he’s learned and from whom he’s learned it.  Is there someone you can point to who was instrumental in teaching you about the Christian faith and how those teachings enable you to continue in your walk with the Lord? Have you taught someone about the faith and encouraged that person to continue in what they have learned, despite difficult circumstances?
              6. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul cites the scripture as a way to encourage Timothy and how it is profitable for all of life. What encouragement do you find from scripture?
              7. Are you a person of The Book?

June 7, 2015
“Unashamed: Strengthened by the Grace of Christ”
Tim Kallam

              1. Read 1 Timothy 2:1. Where does Timothy get his strength? Where do you get your strength? If you lived your life really believing that your strength came from God alone, what would be different? What decisions would you make ( or have made) differently?
              2. If your strength comes from God, why do you try to control your life and do things by your own strength?
              3. Review 1 Timothy 1:14. What does Paul mean by “good deposit”?
              4. Guarding the good deposit is very important as we pass on the gospel to others. See 1 Timothy 2:2. In our world today, it can be tempting to change the gospel message to be less “offensive” to others. Name some ways this is happening in our culture. What can we do to ensure the gospel message stays pure?
              5. Read 1 Timothy 2:10. Paul suffered many trials as a Christian. As Americans, we generally live in a prosperous and safe culture. Do you think this safety and prosperity will hurt our ability to stand up and suffer for the gospel when the opportunity arises?
              6. Read 1 Timothy 2:8. Why does Paul tell Timothy to “remember Jesus”?

May 17, 2015
“What if Every Member Really is a Minister?”
Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Ministering to the church is not the sole responsibility of the ministry staff, but the duty of all its members.

              1. One of the tenets of the Protestant Reformation is the priesthood of all believers. In what sense are all believers priests? Read 1 Peter 2:9 and Revelation 1:4-6.
              2. Read Ephesians 4:11-12 Where do our ministry gifts come from? What is the primary responsibility of the “professional” ministers? What are the saints (holy ones) equipped for? Why is this considered the model of the church ministry?
              3. Where should ministry be focused? Inside the church or outside the church or both? Discuss.
              4. Taking an assessment test is one way to determine your spiritual gift, but the best way is to do something. Why might that be the best way? What have you done or could you do to determine your spiritual gift?
              5. Read 1 Peter 4:10-11 Why should we avoid taking credit for our gift? Who receives the glory from our gift? Who receives the benefits from our gift?
              6. Read Ephesians 4:13-16 Unity and maturity as a church are the primary reasons for using our gifts to serve one another. Why does it take a servant’s heart to use your gifts for those reasons?  Are you using your gift(s) for those reasons?

May 10, 2015
“What if We’re All Called to Go?”
Matthew 4:18-22

Sermon Thought: We are all called to grow in Christ and go with Him to make disciples.

              1. Intro question: How do you decide which phone calls to answer, which phone calls to “screen?”
              2. In Scripture, do you ever find yourself “screening” one of God’s calls to action? Why is does this seem so easy to do?
              3. Read Matt. 4:18. Jesus says, “Follow me,” which implies that he is on the move, working to rescue and redeem the world. Why do you think Jesus wants you to join him in this process?
              4. Jesus says, “I will make you. . .” Following Jesus is a lifelong journey of being made into his image more every day (2 Cor. 3:18). What are some of the events or people God has used to “make you” into the image of his son, Jesus?
              5. Jesus says, “I will make you fishers of men.” This is a calling to make disciples, given to every believer, and repeated in Matthew 28:18-20. Where has God called you to “go?” Where has he called you to make disciples?
              6. Read Matthew 4:20-22. The disciples gave up their identity and followed him. When you consider the 210 million people who have never heard of Jesus, what do you think Jesus wants you to give up?
              7. Jesus calls us to grow in him and go with him. Name one specific action step you can take this week to “grow” in him.  Name one specific action step you can take to “go” with him.

May 3, 2015
What If We Really Treasure the Word of God?
Marcus Busenitz

              1. What do you think it means to treasure God’s Word?  See Psalm 119:72, 119:97, 119:105, and 119:123.
              2. Treasuring God’s Word means much more than memorizing its verses.  The Psalmist in 119 tells us we must allow it to change our lives.  Has your life changed because of Scripture?  In what ways?  Read Psalm 119:11 and 119:171-172.
              3. A lot of people think the Bible is just a book of rules by which God wants us to live – rules a Christian is “supposed” to follow.  Do you agree or disagree?  How would you respond to this idea?
              4. Read Psalm 119:1-8.  The Psalmist loves and delights in God’s Word.  Do you really love God’s Word?
              5. Our love for God’s Word is a two-way street.  We must contribute something on our end in order to love Scripture like the Psalmist in 119.  Name some things you can do to increase your love for the Bible.

April 26, 2015
What If We Really Understood the Gospel?
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The gospel changes the way we live our lives.

              1. In Ephesians 2:5, we receive the bad news that spiritually we are dead. What caused this death? What can a dead person do to bring himself or herself back to life?
              2. Read Luke 18:9-14. Do you see yourself as more like the Pharisee or the tax collector? Do you try to justify yourself by the things you do or do you humble yourself and throw yourself on the mercy and grace of God?
              3. Read Ephesians 2:4-7 Why is the phrase “But God,” so significant? Can you think of instances in your life in which “But God” made a difference in something that was seemingly impossible? Why is “But God” the crux of the gospel?
              4. Discuss this quote from theologian Jack Miller: “The gospel reminds us that we’re more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, but we’re more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.”
              5. Read Colossians 2:13-14. Have you ever thought of your sin as an insurmountable debt that was impossible for you to repay? How often do you think about and praise God for Jesus paying your debt of sin and giving you a clean slate?
              6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21? How often do you think about the “Great Exchange,” your sin for Jesus’ righteousness? How does it affect the way you live?
              7. Christian author Jerry Bridges wrote that we “should preach the gospel to ourselves daily.” Why do you think it’s important to do that? How will it benefit us if we did?
              8. Several points were made about the question: “What if we really believed the gospel?”
                1. It would help us understand our debt has been canceled.
                2. Our Christian life would no longer be performance based.
                3. We no longer have any guilt and shame.
                4. We would have a new trajectory, a new purpose, a new mission.
              9. Which of those have you struggled to believe? Why? Which of those is a settled issue with you? Why?

April 19, 2015
What If We Really Life for God’s Glory?
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: We live for the glory of God alone.

              1. Johann Sebastian Bach signed his musical works with the letters “SDG,” which stood for the Latin phrase Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”). Do you consider your gifts and talents as being used for God’s glory alone? Or do you seek self-glorification? Read 1 Corinthians 10:31, Isaiah 42:8 and Isaiah 48:11.
              2. John Piper said, “I believe the glory of God is the going public of his infinite worth.” Read Isaiah 6:1-3. When you look around, do see a “public” manifestation of God’s glory? Do you see it in creation? Do you see it in salvation? Do you see it in the daily lives of believers? Explain how you see it in each instance. Read Psalm 19:1 and Ephesians 1:5, 11,13.
              3. Three ways were mentioned that we can make God’s glory evident in our daily living.
                1. The praise of our lips (Hebrews 13:15).
                2. Doing blessed deeds (Hebrews 13:16; Matthew 5:16).
                3. By our faith (Romans 4:20-21).
              4. Which of these is most prevalent in your life? Which is the least prevalent? What can you do to improve in each aspect?

April 12, 2015
What If We Really Were All In?
Tim Kallam

              1. The Latin phrase “Soli Deo gloria” means “glory to God alone.”  What does this mean to you?
              2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.  Christ’s love should control us.  Does it? Who/what controls your life?
              3. Tim suggested that fear holds us back from fully surrendering our lives to Christ.  Is this true for you?  If so, in what ways?  If not fear, what else holds you back?
              4. God always wants the best for us and works everything for our good.  Discuss the outcomes for Abraham, Noah and Daniel when they surrendered their lives to God without knowing the future/outcome.
              5. Read Luke 22:39-42.  In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was ALL IN.  When we surrender our lives to God we need to be “all in” too.  What is God asking you to do to demonstrate that you have surrendered your life to Him?

March 22, 2015
Behold The Man: Delivered & Devoted
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Because God has delivered us from our sins, we are called to respond with grateful generosity, devotion, and faithfulness.

              1. Read Luke 8:1-2. Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene from a troubled past. Can you name specific examples of things from which God has delivered you? (or someone you know personally)?
              2. Which of the following three lessons resonates with you at this particular point in your life? Why?
                1. Lesson #1– “Out of gratitude flows generosity.”
                2. Lesson #2– “Deliverance leads to devotion and obedience.”
                3. Lesson #3– “Out of freedom comes faithfulness.”
              3. Jesus made his presence real to Mary Magdalene, he transformed her. How can YOU see that Jesus has a real presence in your life? How can OTHERS see that Jesus is present in your life?

March 15, 2015
Behold The Man: A Life Changing Appointment
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: Having eternal life is not about our birth or our behavior, but it’s about believing in Jesus Christ.

              1. Read John 19:38-42. Why is Jesus’ burial so important? If He had not been buried, what would that have meant to the presentation of the gospel? (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
              2. In John’s gospel, Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus could be considered “secret” followers of Jesus. Are you or is there anyone you know who could be considered a “secret” follower of Jesus? What would it take for you or this person to come out in the open as a follower of Christ?
              3. Read John 3:1-15. What strikes you most about Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus? Is it that he came at night? Is it his question about Jesus’ statement about being born again (literally “born from above”)? Is it that he was “the” teacher of Israel and didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about?
              4. Read Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-15. In what way have we all been snake-bitten? How is Jesus the only remedy for it?
              5. In the stories of Joseph of Arimethea (see also Luke 24:50-53) and Nicodemus (see also John 7:32, 45-52), during the course of time both became followers of Christ but we’re not told exactly when. Did your conversion also happen during the course of time or was it immediate?  What makes believing in Christ as Savior and Lord so difficult?

March 1, 2015
Behold The Man: The Tipping Point
Tim Kallam

              1. Read John 20:30-31. For what purpose was the gospel of John written? Is this the purpose in your life? If not, what life changes can you make?
              2. Tim discussed Pilate and Caiaphas in his sermon. Review their prophetic statements (see Zechariah 6:12 / John 19:5 for Pilate and John 11:49-53 for Caiaphas). What do these statements tell you about the sovereignty of God?
              3. Read John 3:30. John the Baptizer’s purpose was to point people to Christ. In what ways did He do this? See Matthew 3:4, John 1:29-31, and John 1:35-37.
              4. What are some ways you can point others to Christ in your life?
              5. We sang the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”  Review the following lyrics:
                1. How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure. That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.  How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turns His face away as wounds which mar the chosen One, bring many sons to glory.
              6. Many times pain and suffering must occur for the purpose of God’s glory.  Discuss a painful/troubled time in your life.  How was God’s glory revealed?

February 22, 2015
Mission Sunday
Tim Kallam (Panel discussion)

              1. Several of our members shared about their experiences serving on mission trips. How do their thoughts challenge you, motivate you to be a part of God’s mission to rescue the world?
                1. Joe Denson (Sudan with Neverthirst): The believers were extremely poor, yet joyful. Faith is their only asset.
                2. Wendy Gault (Hungary with the Paulus Movement): The people we saw were NOT physically poor, but they were spiritually poor.
                3. Weyman Prater (Peru with SAM): It was a great joy to use gifts and abilities to serve alongside the missionaries (basketball, construction). Everyone on the trip made themselves available to be used by God.
              2. Why is it that when people go on mission trips, they walk away feeling they were more impacted than those they went to serve?
              3. Read 2 Cor. 4:15. How do you think that God wants to use you to extend his grace to more and more people?
              4. MBCC encourages each of its members to participate in mission by Praying, Giving, and Going. How does each one of these look in your life setting?

February 15, 2015
Rest: Now and Then
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The physical rest that we experience on earth–which is a necessity for life– gives us a taste of the eternal rest that we will one day enjoy through faith in Christ alone.

              1. Lack of margin in our lives will result in physical, relational, and spiritual breakdown. Which of these areas seems to suffer the most when you are too busy?
              2. Point #1: By the power of the Holy Spirit, make the changes that you need to make so the “busy-ness” doesn’t destroy you. What changes would that be for you?
              3. Point #2: Embrace the busy-ness of life–we were made to be busy (Gen. 2:15), but we can’t afford NOT to rest. How can you find moments of rest in the midst of your schedule this week?
              4. Point #3: Lean on, lean into Jesus. Read Matt. 11:28-30. Often times we think that our circumstances prevent us from resting. Jesus says that it is internal clutter/chaos that is the issue. If you are able to rely on Jesus alone for acceptance and significance, how could this affect your ability to rest?
              5. Point #4: All of this causes us to long for heaven. What is it about life that makes you long for heaven? What is it about rest that makes you long for heaven?

February 8, 2015
Rest: Margin and Mission
Tim Kallam

              1. This morning we discussed the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).  The priest and the Levite both passed by the injured man.  Name some reasons why you might pass by him as well.
              2. A hurried, busy lifestyle and financial burdens can prevent us from caring for those in need.  We need to create “margin” in our lives so that we have the time and resources to help when God calls. How can you create this margin in your life?
              3. How can you keep “compassion fatigue” from happening (compassion fatigue is the exhaustion you feel when trying to help too many people at once)?
              4. A “need” does not determine the “call.”  Many needs exist.  But God is not calling you to help with ALL of them.  How can you decide what need(s) God has called you to help meet?
              5. What is the most important need you must meet?  Read 1 Timothy 5:8.  What steps can you take in your life to make sure your responsibilities in this area are met?
              6. Thought for the day: John the Baptist said, “I am not the Christ.”  Remember that you are not Jesus, and you can’t help everyone with everything.  But you can help someone with something.

February 1, 2015
Rest: The Better Choice
Luke 10:38-42
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Jesus calls us to choose to rest in him and to eliminate our obsessive pursuit of abundant distractions.

              1. Intro question: Life is full of choices. Can you think of a choice you made in the past that led to unexpected or unintended consequences? (good or bad)
              2. Read Luke 10:38-42. Mary and Martha each made a choice with their time. Name a specific instance when you found yourself choosing either one of these. Why did you choose to NOT do the other?
                1. Martha chose to “do for Jesus,” which was a good thing.
                2. Mary chose to “be with Jesus,” which was the best thing.
              3. Martha is described with three words: distracted, anxious, and troubled (vv.40-41). Which of these words best describes you? How does your current schedule lead you to feel distracted, anxious, or troubled?
              4. If you find yourself distracted, drawn in many directions, here are three suggestions. Which do you need most right now?
                1. De-clutter: Every time you say “yes” to something, say “no” to something else.
                2. Determine priorities: make choices that will help you become who God wants you to be VS. choices that will help you get stuff done.
                3. Set parameters: exercise strategic neglect, rest.
              5. Look at Luke 10:40. Martha thinks that Jesus does not care because he does not meet her expectations, so she tells Him what to do. Have you ever felt like Jesus hasn’t met your expectations? How did you respond?
              6. G.K. Chesterton says there are two ways to be content or have enough: To accumulate more, or to desire less. Why do we pursue the first so often?
                Prayerfully consider the words of “I’d Rather Have Jesus.

January 25, 2015
“Rest: The Rest of Jesus”
Matthew 11:28-30

Sermon Thought: Jesus gives us salvation rest when we recognize that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor and trust that he has already done it.

              1. Why is it so common for people to compare themselves to others, placing themselves on the spectrum of “good people vs. bad people?” Do you ever do this?
              2. For a not-yet-believer, if a relationship with God is viewed as a list of rules that must be obeyed, or a ladder of righteousness that must be climbed, what will be the result?
              3. If you are already a believer, and you view your spiritual walk as a series of hoops to jump through, or a ladder that you have to climb, what will be the result?
              4. Read Matt. 11:28-30. How does Jesus’ invitation change this view of what it means to walk with God?
              5. Read Eph. 2:8-9. If you are saved by grace through faith, you are also sanctified by grace through faith. Discuss these two statements: “I am no more capable of sanctifying myself than I am of saving myself,” and “I can’t, Lord, you never said I could. Lord, you can, and you always said you would.”
              6. In Hebrews 4, we see that physical rest (the Israelites in Canaan) is a picture of the salvation rest that Jesus brings. Just as entering Canaan required faith, so too does salvation rest. Why is it important for Christians to develop a “rhythm of rest” during our lives here on earth?

January 19, 2015
“Rest: Rest and Restoration”
Psalm 23:1-3
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Putting aside distractions allows us to be fully present in God’s presence and to hear His voice clearly.

              1. Have you ever considered what impact being “crazy busy” is having on your soul and your relationship with God?
              2. What changes do you have to make in your life to find time for simplicity (“clearing out clutter”), stillness (“slowing down the pace”) and silence (“turning off the noise”)?
              3. Discuss the following quote from philosopher and professor Peter Kreeft: “We want to complexify our lives. We don’t have to, we want to. We wanted to be harried and hassled and busy. Unconsciously, we want the very things we complain about. For if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hole in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it.”
              4. Read Mark 4:18-19 Have the cares of this life robbed you of the fruitfulness of the word of God you have heard or read?
              5. Read Psalm 23 afresh. The Shepherd wants to take us where we “can catch our breath” as The Message puts verse 3. What are some other benefits of following the Shepherd?

January 11, 2015
“Rest: The Rhythm of Rest”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: In the midst of our busy schedules, God calls us to trust Him alone and realize that we have limitations.
 
              1. Where do you need some “margin” in your life?
              2. Read Romans 12:2. When it comes to being busy, reflect on this statement: “We must change our minds before we change our lives, we must change our hearts before we change our habits.” What needs to change about your desires?
              3. Where have you allowed pride to take away your margin/breathing room? (examples: “no one else can do it like me”; people-pleasing; pity; prove something)
              4. Where have you allowed fear to take away your margin/breathing room? (examples: fear of missing out, fear of falling behind)
              5. What would it look like if you humbly accept your limits and more fully trust God?

January 4, 2015
What to Pray For
Matthew 6: 9:13
Marcus Busenitz

              1. This morning Marcus discussed the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.  How is your prayer life going?  Do you pray often throughout the day or at certain times?  Has it been a long time since you prayed?  Discuss with the group.
              2. Jesus thought prayer was very important – so we should too. Through prayer we show God that we honor, love and respect Him.  We also give Him glory with our prayers. What else does prayer accomplish (reflect on confession, forgiveness, human needs, and temptation/sin)?
              3. Reflect on Matthew 6:9.  Why is it important that we focus on God’s name when we pray?  Hint: the word hallowed means “set apart, holy.”
              4. Verse 10 asks us to prayer for God’s kingdom to come.  Many people believe this only means we are praying for Jesus to return quickly and take us home to Heaven.  What else could this phrase be referring to (see John 3:17 and 2 Cor. 5:20b)?
              5. Matt. 6:10b reminds us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth.  How many times have you prayed for something with your own agenda in mind?  Are you willing to let God’s will be done in your life no matter what the cost?  Discuss a time in your life when you experienced God’s will working in your life.
              6. Verse 12 tells us to ask God for forgiveness. God has already forgiven us for our sins (past, present and future) through Jesus’ death on the cross.  So why is it important for us to continue to confess our sins to God and ask His forgiveness on a daily basis?

December 21, 2014
Advent: Love
Genesis 3:8-9
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God pursues man to shower him with love and kindness.

              1. In Genesis 3:9, God comes looking for man. How often have you thought about God looking for you? Are you, like Adam and Eve, hiding from Him when He looks for you? Are you the “running kind” as the lyrics of Johnny Cash’s song of that title declares?
              2. Read John 1:14 and Philippians 2:5-8. We like to be with the ones we love. How does the incarnation show that God wants to be with the ones He loves?
              3. Does the following Charles H. Spurgeon quote reflect your thoughts about God? “While I regarded God as a tyrant I thought my sin a trifle; But when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.”
              4. Read 1 John 4:7-10 and Romans 5:8 Have you ever thought about God being on a quest to show us His love? Do you think our mission in the world is to join Him in this quest?
              5. Read Romans 8:31-39 The cross shows that God will stop at nothing to show us the depths of His love. How far are you willing to go to show someone you love them? To show them that God loves them?
              6. Why is the phrase “God loves you” the most profound truth you can tell someone?

December 14, 2014
Advent: Joy
Luke 2:8-20
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Like the shepherds, we are called to proclaim the true joy that we find in the coming of Christ.

              1. Name at least two ways that your family demonstrates “joy” during the Christmas holidays.
              2. Look at Luke 2:10. The words “fear not” are used frequently throughout the Christmas story. Name some of your fears–past or present. How does Christ’s coming affect these fears?
              3. The angel says that this good news will be for “ALL people.” Read Romans 5:8. How should this affect your choice of the people with whom you share the good news? Are there any groups or types of people that you find yourself reluctant to share with? Why?
              4. Notice that God gives this angelic message to the lowly shepherds–people who are uneducated and poor. Do you ever feel like your human wisdom or your financial wealth are obstacles to embracing Jesus?
              5. Suppose a stranger asks you why Christians make such a big deal about Christmas. In 90 seconds, how would you describe the good news of Jesus’ birth?
              6. Look at Luke 2:16-18. The shepherds couldn’t stop talking about the good news of Jesus’ birth. When, where, with whom can you share this good news in the next 10 days?

December 7, 2014
Advent: Peace
Tim Kallam

                  1. How do the events of Genesis 3 relate to the birth of Jesus? Reflect on John 3:16 as you answer.
                  2. The birth of Jesus brought peace on Earth.  But our lives are far from peaceful. How has ( and how does) Jesus bring peace on Earth today despite the evil in our world?
                  3. Read Phil. 4:6-7. What does it mean to have the peace “of” God?
                  4. In Phil. 4:9, Paul uses the phrase “God of peace” instead of “peace of God.” God doesn’t just tell us how to have peace or how to handle a situation. He walks through it with us. Discuss a time when this has happened to you.

November 30, 2014
Advent: Hope
Joel Busby

Sermon Thought: Since sin entered the world, humans have longed and hoped for restoration that ultimately came about through the coming of Christ.

                  1. God created the world at perfect peace, in a state of “shalom.” Temptation and sin interrupted that peace. Where have you seen temptation and sin interrupt your life? Your family? Friends? Workplace?
                  2. Read Gen. 3:14-15. Notice that God steps in and gets involved. He promises to redeem and rescue to fix the problem, ultimately through Christ. Can you share your “faith story” about how you came to trust Christ to rescue you from your sin?
                  3. Because we have the hope of Christ and eternal life, one challenge is “Don’t waste your hope.” What are other lesser things on which you are tempted to set your hope? Things you rely on to bring you security, happiness, or meaning.
                    We are also challenged to remember that the Christian life is a story of longing, waiting, hoping. What are some things that you long for now, and how will Christ’s second coming fulfill those longings?
                  4. Remember that the one who came STILL comes into our lives, he is involved in the lives of his people. Can you name a situation in your life from this past year where you have clearly seen God involved? A time when you have sensed God’s presence, or you have seen him working . . .

November 23, 2014
“You Shall Be My Witnesses”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Acts 10:24

Sermon Thought: God calls us to share his love with every member of our “household,” our circle of influence.

                  1. Read Acts 1:8. We are told to make disciples, near and far. Do you find yourself more inclined to advance the gospel locally (“Jerusalem”)? Or globally (“the ends of the earth”)? Why does God tell us to be involved in all areas?
                  2. Identifying: In Acts 10:24, Cornelius calls together the members of his “household” to hear Peter’s message. This includes his family, his relatives, his slaves/servants, and his business associates. Can you identify by name some people within your “household”/circle of influence who don’t know Christ? Also, can you identify by name some people who already know Christ, that you can help to grow deeper in their walk with Christ?
                  3. Investing: How can you invest time with these individuals?
                  4. Interceding: How can you remind yourself to pray regularly for these individuals? When is the best time to pray for them?
                  5. Inviting: How and when can you invite them to a place where they can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?
                  6. Informing: In what setting can YOU use words to share the gospel with them? Explain to them what Christ has done for you and what he can do for them?

November 16, 2014
“A Double Conversion”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: God could have used angels to spread His message of salvation, but instead He chose people for the mission of taking the gospel to the ends of the world.

                  1. Read Acts 10:1-8 Cornelius was a devout man who was generous and prayerful. Why did he still need to be saved?
                  2. Read Acts 10:9-23 Peter’s vision happened three times and yet he was still perplexed about what God had shown him. Can you think of a time God revealed something to you that you struggled to understand?  What did you do and why?
                  3. Read Acts 10:24-29 Peter was in Joppa when he had his vision and the prophet Jonah was in Joppa when God instructed him to go to Nineveh. Discuss the contrast between Peter’s decision to go a gentile’s house and Jonah’s decision not to go to a gentile nation. Why do you think Peter went and Jonah didn’t? Have you ever been reluctant to share the gospel with someone from a different ethic background than yours?
                  4. Read Acts 10:34-43. Who should receive the gospel? Was Peter saying that fearing God and doing what is right saves us? What makes us acceptable to God? Or who should it be who makes us acceptable to God?
                  5. Cornelius needed a conversion of the heart and Peter needed to know that the gospel is for all people. Why was this a game-changing event in the mission of the church? Read Matthew 28:18-20

November 9, 2014
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
“A Story Worth Telling”
Acts 9:1-18
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: We must tell the story of how God has shown us amazing love, saving us from sin and giving us eternal life.

                  1. In your spiritual journey, can you name a time, person, or event that has been a “game-changer?” Something or someone that has caused you to move forward spiritually?
                  2. Look at Acts 9:4-5. Saul is persecuting the church, but notice that Jesus says, “You are persecuting ME.” Jesus closely associates himself with his church.  How would this truth encourage Christians who are suffering?  How does this truth challenge you as you think about your attitude toward the church?
                  3. When he recounts his conversion story, Saul talks about the “before” and “after” in his conversion. He says he was a great sinner, a persecutor of Christ’s church. He was also self-righteous, a Pharisee. He had to embrace both of the truths listed below. Which of the following two truths is easier to embrace? Why?
                    “No matter what you have done, there is no one beyond the reach of God’s grace.”
                    “No matter who you are, there is no one so good that they are above the need for God’s grace.”
                  4. Read Acts 9:10-17. Ananias was afraid to meet with Saul. Is there anything you fear as you share Jesus with others?
                  5. Is there anyone specific that you need to meet with to share Christ? Any doors that have been opened recently?
                  6. Pause for a moment right now to read and pray through the words of Colossians 4:2-5.
                  7. “The Gospel is the fuel that propels us forward.” God saved us so that we could accomplish his mission. Do you find yourself “energized” by what God has done for you? Why or why not?

November 2, 2014
“Expanding the Mission”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Tim Kallam

                  1. Read Acts 7:58-8:1.  God used Stephen’s death as a way to spread the gospel by forcing people out of their comfort zone (Jerusalem) and into Judea and Samaria.  What are your comfort zones?  In what ways can you move out of your comfort zone and tell others about Jesus?
                  2. Jesus was adamant that the gospel be spread to all nations (Matthew 28:19).  How can you spread the gospel to people in other countries (besides starting a career in foreign missions)?
                  3. Read Acts 6:1-5. Stephen and Philip served food to widows during the beginning of their ministry.  They were willing to do whatever God wanted in order to spread the gospel.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes to tell others about Jesus?  What sacrifices do you think God wants you to make to further His kingdom?
                  4. God might use you to share the gospel with a crowd (like Stephen) or with an individual (like Philip).  Are you always ready to share your faith with others when you have the opportunity (1 Peter 3:15)?
                  5. Today we sang “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.  Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.  I will call upon Your name…I am Yours and You are mine.”* This week pray for a deeper relationship with God.  Pray that you will be so close to Him that sharing Him with others comes naturally in your daily life.*Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United

October 26, 2014
“A Bold and Generous Faith”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Acts 4:13-22
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God calls us to demonstrate a bold and generous faith that is observable, undeniable, and unstoppable.

                  1. Intro Question: Would other people call you “bold” or “reserved?” Why?
                    Read Acts 4:13. The apostles were ordinary people doing extraordinary things through the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you feel like God wants to do extraordinary things through you? Why or why not?
                  2. Look at Acts 4:14, 22. The healed man was absolute proof that God’s power was at work. Can you name something in your life that can ONLY be explained by the fact that God’s power is at work?
                  3. Is there anything new that you think God may want you to attempt that will only be successful if His power is at work?
                  4. Read Ephesians 1:3-14. God’s generosity motivates his people to be generous also. How has God demonstrated generosity in these verses? List all the things he has freely given to us.
                  5. Read Acts 4:33-35. The believers in the early church were marked by generosity. What opportunities do you have to be generous with your words? Your resources? Your time? Give specific examples.
                  6. Look at Acts 4:29-31. In Acts 4, we see that the power of God and the advance of the gospel is unstoppable. Do you feel that this is still true today? Why or why not?

October 19, 2014
“Trust in the Living God”
Isaiah 37:14-20
Marcus Busenitz

Sermon Thought: We can trust in the living God, no matter what circumstances we face.
 
                  1. Read Isaiah 37:10-13. King Hezekiah receives this threatening letter from the king of Assyria. Name a time when you have received difficult news? What was your immediate response?
                  2. Read Isaiah 37:14-20. Hezekiah’s immediate response was to present this situation to the Lord. What are some other common responses to difficult situations? What keeps us from turning to the Lord first?
                  3. Hezekiah addresses the Lord with a number of names and descriptions. Which name resonates with you the most right now? Why?
                    1. LORD (Yahweh)
                    2. Lord of Hosts (16)
                    3. God of Israel (16)
                    4. The Only God (16)
                    5. God of all the Kingdoms of the earth (16)
                    6. Maker of heaven and earth (16)
                    7. The Living God (v.17)
                    8. Lord our God (20)
                  4. Read v.17-18. Hezekiah is concerned that God’s character has been called into question, that he has been equated with idols. Are you ever tempted to question God’s power? His love? His faithfulness?
                  5. Other than God, what are some things in which you are tempted to place your trust? (wealth, your own abilities, etc.)
                  6. Read v.20. Because God delivers his people, others come to know that He is the God who saves. If you have trusted Christ, God has delivered (saved) you from sin/death and given you eternal life. How can people tell that you have been delivered?
                  7. Who in your life is coming to know that He is the God who saves? Who is noticing that you have been delivered? Can you name a specific person?

 

October 12, 2014
“Healing for the Hopeless”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Kevin DeLaney
Acts 3

Sermon Thought: The power in the Christian’s life comes from the power of Christ’s resurrection.

                  1. Read Acts 3:1-9. Peter and John stopped and engaged the lame man. In other words, they got involved. What makes us hesitant about getting involved with hurting, needy people, especially those who are strangers?
                  2. Read Acts 3:11-16. Peter deflected praise and pointed to Christ as the power source for the lame man’s miraculous healing. When you help others, do you take credit for it or do you acknowledge that it was through the power of Christ’s name that you did it, giving him credit for it? (cf. John 15:5)
                  3. Why is the lame man’s miracle our miracle? What can we learn from his act of faith?
                  4. Read Acts 3:17-21. How do we overcome ignorance about Jesus Christ and what He accomplished through the cross and His resurrection? What are some of the blessings of repentance?
                  5. Throughout Acts 3, Peter makes frequent references to Jesus Christ and the power of His name. Why would we turn to anyone other than Jesus in our times of need?

October 4, 2014
“Devoted to Worship”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Tim Kallam
Acts 2:42

Sermon Thought:  When we gather together,we want people to conclude that God is among us.  When we are scattered, we want people to ask us about God and how He has changed us.  This is what it means to be devoted to worship and to worship God wholeheartedly.

                  1. Read Acts 2:42-47.  Today Tim talked about what it means to be devoted in worship.  What does being devoted in worship mean to you?
                  2. Worship is a way of life, not an event. What are some ways we worship God in our everyday lives?
                  3. Worship can be defined as “seeing what God is worth and giving Him what He is worth..”  He is worth everything we have.  What is keeping you from giving God everything you have and from fully worshiping Him?
                  4. Acts is about the expansion of the church (see Acts 2:41 & 47).  When new visitors attend our church services, do you think they see God in us and want what we have?  Can they tell that we are in awe of God and that we have real, sincere faith?  Why or why not?
                  5. Worship in our everyday life and circumstances is a powerful witness to others (negative or positive).  Read Acts 16:23-31.  God used Paul and Silas’ worship while in jail to change the jailer’s heart.  Do people see God in your life?  Do they see God in how you handle difficult situations?  Do your family members see God in you?  In what ways?

September 28, 2014
“Devoted to Community”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Tim Kallam
Acts 2:42

Sermon Thought: The Gospel calls us to be committed to authentic community.

                  1. How would you define “community” in a church setting? What are other words you have heard used to describe this concept?
                  2. What are your thoughts on these quotes? Has this been true in your experience?
                    1. “True community is living proof of a loving God to a watching world.”
                    2. “When the world sees a church from which selfishness is banished, then it will acknowledge the divine mission of Christ, because He has wrought such a wonder, a community of men and women who truly and heartily love one another.”
                  3. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are you saved. . .” Later in Ephesians 2:19, we are told “You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” How do these verses speak to a Christian who might say, “Church is just me and God.” (what are we saved “from,” and what are we saved “to?”
                  4. Look at Acts 2:42. “Fellowship” is the word used to describe authentic community. In this verse, we have seen that the believers were devoted to the “Word” (apostles teaching), and now we see that they are devoted to “Community” (fellowship). If a person is devoted to the word, should that automatically make them devoted to community as well? Have you seen an example where this has or hasn’t happened?
                  5. What factors or obstacles seem to make it difficult for you to invest in the lives of other people in your church? How can you combat these?
                  6. What would it look like if you and/or your family were completely devoted to “community” as part of the discipleship process?

September 21, 2014
“Devoted to the Word”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Tim Kallam
Acts 2:42-47

Sermon Thought: Devotion to the word of God is about transformation rather than information and this devotion is a lifelong experience.

                  1. Acts 2:42 says the believers were devoted to the apostles’ teaching. Why is such dedication necessary? How are you devoted to the biblical teaching you receive?
                  2. Teaching the word of God has been compared to planting a seed and watching it grow, and laying a foundation for a building. Do you find these descriptions appropriate for the teaching of the scriptures you have received? What would you compare it to?
                  3. Read Acts 17:10-12 and James 1;21. The Jews in Berea received the word with “eagerness” and the believers in James were instructed to receive the word with “meekness.” Does eagerness and meekness describe the way you receive the word? How can you increase in this?
                  4. Salvation cannot occur without the word of God nor can spiritual growth and maturity.  How can you encourage your friends to open their Bible and read the word?
                  5. Read 2 Timothy 3:16. How is the word currently at work in your life? What is the importance of doctrine?
                  6. Look at Acts 4:29-31. The apostles prayed for boldness to declare the word of God. Is boldly sharing your faith something you struggle with? Why or why not?
                  7. Look at Acts 20:21-32, Job 23:12 and Jeremiah 15:16. To a degree, these speak of being saturated with the word of God. Would you characterize your life as being saturated with the word?

September 14, 2014
“Empowered for the Mission”
Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus
Tim Kallam
Acts 1-2

Sermon Thought: God gives us the Holy Spirit so he can use us to accomplish his mission of changing the world with his love.

                  1. Look at Acts 1:8. Jesus tells his followers to bear witness about him locally, nationally, and globally–but they can only do this after they receive power through the Holy Spirit. Where have you seen evidence of the Holy Spirit working through people you know? How is he using them? Be specific. . .
                  2. Similar to how the disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit, we are waiting for Christ to return. While we wait, we are called to participate in God’s mission, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. How does the “waiting” affect your desire or sense of urgency to participate in the mission?
                  3. Look at Acts 2:1-13. The point of the story is the transformation that God accomplishes by sending his Holy Spirit. The transformation of these disciples can only be explained by the coming of the Holy Spirit. Can you think of someone you know personally whose life transformation can only be explained by the power of the Holy Spirit? Or an example of transformation in your own life?
                  4. Look at Ephesians 5:18. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is being under His influence and control. How is this like being drunk with wine? How is it different?
                  5. How will the Holy Spirit help you to accomplish God’s mission in the world?
                  6. Look at 1 Pet. 2:12. Do people see anything in your way of life that would point them to God’s presence in your life? Do they see anything that would lead them to the opposite conclusion?
                  7. Look at 1 Thess. 5:19. React to this statement: “The one thing holding the Holy Spirit back is us.” Is there anything specific that God wants you to let go of so you are available for his Spirit to work through you?
                  8. Pray through the words of Ephesians 3:20-21.

September 7, 2014
“Acts: The Ongoing Mission of Jesus”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought:  Tim ended his sermon with a great thought:  We need to see the world around us in a new way.  Instead of focusing on all the evil and sin in the world, we should be focusing on Jesus and on His great light that has come into the world to save it.

                  1. The book of Acts is a narrative of how the first church began and how it continues to grow.  What would be different about our churches and our community if we had the passion for Jesus that the apostles demonstrated?  Or do you think we have this passion already (as individuals, as a church, etc…)?
                  2. Jesus’ command to His disciples (and to us) is clear.  Read Acts 1:8.  What does His command mean to you?  Witnessing in Samaria meant crossing ethnic barriers for the disciples.  What would this look like for you and for our church?
                  3. What would happen if you trusted God and asked Him to give you opportunities to witness to others about Him?  How would you be changed in this process?
                  4. God uses “regular people” all through Scripture to accomplish His mission.  Jesus’ disciples, who God used to begin the first church, were no different (a tax collector, fishermen, etc…). How can knowing this help you today as you witness to others?
                  5. Review Acts 2:38-39.  Peter was sure of his words and couldn’t wait to tell everyone, whatever the cost.  To be a disciple and witness like Peter, we must be convinced of the gospel ourselves and committed to sharing it with others.  Are you convinced the gospel is true?  Why?  Are you committed to telling others?  In what ways?

August 31, 2014
“Good News from the Minor Prophets: Everything Points to Jesus”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God’s heart is to relentlessly pursue and love people who are prone to wander away from him.

                  1. The minor prophets are relevant because they are about God, who hasn’t changed, and also about people, who haven’t changed. Of these themes about God, which one currently resonates with you the most and why? Which one(s) have you seen in your own life in the past month?  Patient, Just, Loving, Mighty, Merciful, Holy
                  2. Which themes about humans resonate with you the most and why?  Have you seen any in your own life in the past month?  Idolatrous, Complacent, Hypocritical, Bent on turning away
                  3. The minor prophets point to a time, place, and person–Jesus Christ.  Read the following verses.  How do they point to Christ’s work?  Micah 7:18-20, Amos 9:11-15, Jonah 4:10-11, Zephaniah 3:9
                  4. With the coming of Jesus, we see this truth: “I am a great sinner, Jesus is a great Savior.” How can you celebrate that statement?

July 6, 2014
“Jonah”
Tim Kallam

                  1. The book of Jonah is about running away from God.  When asked to deliver a message to Nineveh, Jonah ran as far away from God as he could.  See Jonah 1:1-4.  Can you relate to Jonah?  Have you ever tried to run from God?  What was the result?
                  2. Running from God is irrational because you can never flee from God’s presence.  What are some reasons a person might try to outrun God?
                  3. Read Jonah 1:17-2:1-2.  Jonah waited until he had been in the fish for three days before finally praying to God.  Often we are like Jonah and we we wait until we are desperate to call on God.  Why do we do this?
                  4. The book of Jonah provides a close look into Jonah’s heart- he is angry.  Read Jonah 4:1-6.  Who is he angry with and why?
                  5. Jonah doesn’t think God should forgive the people of Nineveh.  He thinks they don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness.  Do you ever feel that way about another person?  Is is possible for someone to be more sinful than someone else?  Are some sins worse than others? Review Romans 3:9-12 and 3:23.
                  6. In what way does the story of Jonah point us to Christ? Hints:  3 days; We run and God pursues us.
                  7. Today we sang the lyrics: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders… let me walk upon the waters..wherever you would call me…”  Are you willing to go where God calls you?  Do you fully trust that God will take care of you if you go?

June 1, 2014
“Good News from the Minor Prophets – Intro”
Tim Kallam

                      1. If one of the “minor prophets” showed up today,  would you listen to himor just dismiss him as a lunatic?
                      2. This summer we are studying the minor prophets. What are some ways that you can relate to the people that the prophets are speaking to? (examples: turning away from God, worshiping idols, loving the poor, oppression, sickness).
                      3. The minor prophet books are full of bad news for the people.  How can this “bad news” help us see Christ? What about the “good news” that they bring as well?
                      4. In today’s sermon, Tim explained that we will see God in our study of the minor prophets.  What do you think the prophets will show us about God’s character?
                      5. The minor prophets will also speak to us about human nature.  In what ways is human nature the same today as it was back then? (Review the words of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.)
                      6. Hosea is the first minor prophet we will study next Sunday.  He speaks a lot about adultery and how the people worship idols and turn away from God.  See Hosea 5:4. In what ways are you like the people Hosea speaks to (in your relationships with God and with other people)?
                      7. We sang “you make all things work together for my good” this morning.  Do you believe this?  How do the words of this chorus apply to our study of the minor prophets?

May 25, 2014
“Evidence of Grace Through Serving”
John 13:34-35
Jimbo Tucker

Sermon Thought: God’s grace gives us the freedom to serve, and serving others is evidence of God’s grace in our lives.

                      1. How have you seen the word “love” used flippantly in the past week? (example: “I LOVE coke zero”). How does this contrast with the concept of “love” that is defined in Scripture? (see 1 Cor. 13:4-7)
                      2. Look at John 13:34. Name some of the ways that Jesus showed his love for people during his time on earth. Are these things you can or can’t do?
                      3. Read John 13:35. When we serve and love others, our service provides evidence that we have had an encounter with Jesus. Can you think of someone specific in your life whose service provides evidence of their encounter with Jesus? How could you see Jesus’ love at work in them?
                      4. Look at John 13:35. Notice that Jesus says, “By this all people will know that you are MY disciples.” What makes our serving people different from non-believers who are also serving people? How can people tell that it is a different kind of serving?
                      5. We are called to love and serve in such a way to point others to Christ. Whom is God asking you to love and serve today? This week? Is there anyone you can serve who needs to come to know Christ?

May 18, 2014
“Evidence of Grace Through Suffering”
Tim Kallam

Sermon thought: The grace of God sustains us when we’re overwhelmed with the brokenness of this world, and grace gives us hope.

                      1. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. In what way does these verses debunk the saying that “God doesn’t put on us more than we can bear?”
                      2. When you are suffering through an overwhelmingly difficult situation, do you see evidences of God’s grace? Does it strengthen your faith and give you hope?
                      3. God has said that He will never leave us nor forsake us, but when you cry for help during a difficult situation and God is silent and doesn’t explain why we are suffering, do you sense His presence?
                      4. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. How has God used your past sufferings to encourage others who are facing a somewhat similar situation? Are you able to tell them that you know and you understand? Give an example of how God has used your affliction to comfort someone else.
                      5. Discuss the following quote from Tim Keller’s book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering:  “Suffering is actually at the heart of the Christian story.” Use 1 Peter 2:21-23 as a frame of reference.
                      6. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-10. As a “jar of clay” how have you seen God use suffering to manifest the life of Christ (the “treasure”) in your life?

May 11, 2014
“The Aroma of Christ”
2 Cor. 2:14-16
Mark Yoder

Sermon Thought: Jesus’ followers are called to demonstrate the “aroma of Christ,” (the love of Christ), to everyone.

                      1. Ice-breaker question: What are some of your favorite food smells?  Least favorite?  What memories do you associate with these smells and why?
                      2. Read 2 Cor. 2:14-16. Paul calls us to “smell like Jesus.”  Some people like the smell, while others hate it.  Why do people respond so differently to the aroma of Christ?
                      3. Where can you smell the “aroma of Christ” at MBCC?
                      4. What do I smell like?  How can I “smell like Jesus” at work, home, school, the ballpark, etc.?
                      5. How can I celebrate others who “smell like Jesus?”   To whom should I show gratitude, say thank you?
                      6. Smell wears off. You pick up the “aroma of Christ” by being in his presence. When do you feel Christ’s presence the most? How are you investing in your relationship with Christ?

May 4, 2014
“Evidence of Grace”
Tim Kallam

                      1. Are you too busy to see evidence of God’s grace in the world around you?  What are some examples (large or small) of God’s grace in your daily life?
                      2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-7.  God’s grace allows Paul to view the Corinthians with a positive perspective and encourage them in their walk with God (even though they had many problems/sinful behaviors).  Do you try to encourage and uplift your friends and family members?  Or do you usually judge and correct them?  Why or why not?  What does the Bible tell us about how we should view others (review verses 1-7)?
                      3. Review 1 Cor. 1:2.  Paul sees evidence of God’s “sanctifying grace” at work in the Corinthians.  What does sanctification mean?  How can a person be holy (set apart) and unholy at the same time?
                      4. Discuss the hymn lyrics “prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.  Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”  The Corinthians were struggling with wandering away from the center of the gospel – Christ. In what ways do we have these same struggles?
                      5. See 1 Corinthians 1:8.  Paul also mentions that the Corinthians have God’s “sustaining grace.”  What does he mean?  In what ways does God sustain the Corinthians?  In what ways does God sustain us?
                      6. We are saved by God’s grace and not by any work of our own (Eph 2:8).  As we are transformed to be more like Christ, God changes our hearts and minds. In what tangible way(s) would you like to see God’s grace transform you personally?

April 27, 2014
Acts 1:1-11
“He is Risen Still”
Joel Busby

Sermon Thought:   The crucified, risen, ascended Jesus is really the true king of the world and is at work for us right now, and he asks us to wait patiently for him as we carry out his mission.

                      1. Read Acts 1:1-2. Do you generally think of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as the “beginning” of what Jesus did, or the “summary” of everything that Jesus did? Why do you think Luke describes the gospels as “the beginning” of Jesus’ work?
                      2. Read Ephesians 1:20-23. These verses state that Jesus is ruling over all things. As we look at circumstances in the world, it often does NOT look like all things are subjecting themselves to Jesus. It often does NOT look like Jesus is ruling and reigning the world. How do you process this as a Christian? How do you demonstrate a “waiting” faith?
                      3. Jesus, fully human and fully God, is currently at work for us–praying, advocating, sympathizing. How does this truth affect the way you handle challenges? The way you make decisions? The people you spend time with?
                      4. “While we wait, we are to affirm and point out constantly that Jesus is Lord of all.”
                      5. How can you affirm that Jesus is Lord of all with your life?
                      6. How can you affirm that Jesus is Lord of all with your mouth?
                      7. Read Acts 1:8. We are instructed to depend on the Holy Spirit for power as we proclaim Jesus. How does celebrating communion help us to do this?

April 20, 2014
1 Corinthians 15:3-20
“EASTER: It’s Only Everything”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the lifeblood of Christianity, but without it Christianity is meaningless.

                      1. In 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul emphatically states that Christ was raised from the dead. What would you do now if Jesus hadn’t been resurrected?
                      2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. What essential truths does Paul declare that causes you to believe in the reality of the resurrection?
                      3. Peter denied Christ, James did not believe his older brother Jesus was the Messiah and Paul was an ardent opponent of Christ’s Church. How did the resurrected Christ’s appearance to each of them impact their lives? How has his resurrection impacted yours?
                      4. The last time you experienced a crisis of faith did the resurrection of Christ give you strength and peace of mind? Explain how.
                      5. Read John 11:17-27. Jesus declares in verse 25 “I am the resurrection and the life” to Martha, sister of Lazarus, and asks her, “Do you believe this?” Why is that one of the most important questions believers (and even unbelievers) must answer?
                      6. What comfort should we take from Jesus’ words in John 14:19 – “Because I live, you also will live.”

April 13, 2014
Luke 19:28-48
“Jesus: King, Prophet, Priest”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: We are called to worship Jesus as our redeeming king who loves us and brings us into a relationship with God.

                      1. Read Luke 19:28-38. “God is in the business of using common things to do uncommon work.” Can you think of a time where you have seen God use something small, common, or insignificant in your life to accomplish great things for him?
                      2. The crowd clearly expects that Jesus will be a conquering hero. When their expectations are not met, they turn away from him later in the week. Have you ever been “frustrated” with something that Jesus did or didn’t do for you? A time when God did not meet your expectations? How does this story speak to that situation?
                      3. Look at Luke 19:41. As a prophet, Jesus weeps when he looks upon the people who missed his message and failed to recognize him. How can we build this same attitude of compassion and sorrow for the lost? How will this attitude change the way we interact with people?
                      4. Read Luke 19:45-46. Jesus is zealous and jealous for the worship of God. What interferes with your desire or ability to worship fully? How can you remove these “interferences?”
                      5. If someone asked you, “Who is Jesus?” How would you respond?
                        Read 1 Peter 1:18-19. Reflect on Christ your Savior. Name some specific ways in which you feel led to worship Christ as your Savior.


April 6, 2014
“The Call: The Call and Your Calling”
Tim Kallam

                      1. Everyone, at some point in their life, asks the question, “what is my calling?”  Do you feel that you are doing what God has called you to do?
                      2. Read Romans 15:6.  What does it mean to “glorify God”?
                      3. Read Acts 13:36.  David served his purpose for God before he died.  What would your life look like if you served God’s purpose?  How would your life change?
                      4. What is wrong with this statement:  “I want to do God’s work and live for Him, but right now I just need to work at a job that pays the bills and provides for my family.  Later on, when the kids are grown, I can fully devote my life/career to serving God and others.”
                      5. Tim mentioned that most of the time, in order to glorify God in our current situation/job, we need to change our perspective and not necessarily our circumstances.  What did he mean by this?
                      6. Read Ephesians 2:10.  How can we use our current careers/everyday lives, to live for Christ and follow His calling? Think of some tangible ways in which you can glorify God.  What do we do during the day that doesn’t glorify God?
                      7. Reflect on 1 Peter 4:10-11.  What specific gifts has God given you to use, to glorify Him?  How can you use these gifts in your life right now?

 


March 30, 2014
John 13: 31-35
“The Call: The Call to Cross-Centered Community”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: We are called to protect our unity in Christ by loving each other with the humility shown by Jesus.

                      1. When you attend church on Sunday, which of the following two questions best describes your mentality, and why:  “What do I get out of it?” OR “What do I bring to those who are here?”
                      2. “Community is not an ideal that we strive toward, it is a reality that God has produced by the cross of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.”  In your own words, how would you define “community?”  When have you seen it visibly demonstrated?
                      3. Read Ephesians 2:13, 18-19.  According to this passage, what does it mean for Christians to have unity/peace?  With God?  With each other?
                      4. Read John 13:34-35.  Jesus calls us to protect our unity by loving each other with the humility shown by Jesus.  Where have you seen an example of someone showing humble love?
                      5. Where is God giving YOU opportunity to show this kind of humble love?
                      6. Read John 17:20-21 (see also John 13:35). Jesus wants us to demonstrate our unity with him by loving each other. According to these verses, the end result is that “the world” will come to know him. Have you ever seen this result happen with any of your “non-believing” friends? Why or why not?


March 23, 2014
“The Call: The Called and the Caller”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Jesus calls us to himself, and he also calls us to go for him.

                      1. Discuss the following statement: “We have too much to live with, and not enough to live for.”  Is this true in your life?  Those around you?  How does this happen to people?
                      2. Read Matt. 11:28-30.  What is it in the last month or two that has burdened you or made you weary?  Has your relationship with Jesus affected the way that you have walked through these challenges?
                      3. Look at Joshua 5:13-15.  To summarize this passage, we could say that “God doesn’t come to take sides, he comes to take over.”  Have you ever found yourself trying to fit God into your plans and get him on your side, instead of fitting yourself into God’s plans?  Name a time when you have done this, or seen it happen.
                      4. Joshua says, “What does my lord say to his servant?”  It is important to seek God’s guidance and leading as we walk through life.  How can you remind yourself to ask this question regularly in prayer?  Remind yourself to regularly seek his guidance in various life decisions?
                      5. If we worship the living God, our worship will lead to surrender.  Read Romans 12:1-2.  What are some things you might need to surrender so you can serve God in every area of your life?


March 16, 2014
Matthew 4: 18-22
“The Call”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The call to follow Jesus is not a one-time event, but the beginning of an on-going relationship.

                      1. Read Matthew 4:19.  Is Jesus calling us to do something or to be something?
                      2. In verse 20 and again in verse 22, it says that first Peter and Andrew and later James and John immediately left what they were doing and followed Jesus.  When Jesus calls us, what keeps us or hinders us from responding immediately?
                      3. The course of the disciples’ lives was radically altered when they followed Jesus.  How has your life changed since you answered Jesus’ call to follow Him?
                      4. Mark Greene, Executive Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, focuses on “whole-life discipleship.”  He says that if all of life isn’t a stewardship to the Lord, then Christianity most likely will become a leisure-time activity.  Does being a Christ follower touch all aspects of your life or do you chop it up into various pieces at your leisure?
                      5. Read Ephesians 2:10, and discuss why we weren’t saved just to be saved, but God had something for us do.  What do you think are the “good works” that were prepared in advance that God wanted us to actively engage in?
                      6. Jesus calls us to follow Him, which implies that He will lead us.  Do you find it easy or difficult to follow His leadership?  Why?


March 9, 2014
John 2:1-11
Mission Sunday: “But When the Wine Runs Out, What Then?”
Dr. Winfred Neely

Sermon Thought: The Lord Jesus has the power to transform the quality of our lives through a relationship with himself.

                      1. Read John 2:1-11.  How would you have responded if you were a family member at this wedding?  How is this account similar to weddings you have attended?  How is it different?
                      2. Read John 2:5. Mary says, “Do whatever he tells you to do.”  The servants follow her instruction, and amazing things happen.  Is Jesus currently telling you to do something specific, but you are hesitating?  How does this passage challenge you?
                      3. “Missional duties belong to us, miracles of life transformation belong to Jesus.”  What missional duties is God asking you to do?  How will these duties contribute to life transformation?
                      4. “Become an ordinary water pot in the name of Jesus.  Fill yourself with the Word of God. God will take the Word in your life and affect miracles of change.”  How will you read God’s Word?  How will you memorize God’s Word?  How will you learn God’s Word from others?  Be specific about how you plan to fill yourself with God’s Word.
                      5. “Know that God always saves the best for last”–Read John 2:10.  How does this truth motivate you as you seek to accomplish Christ’s mission?


March 2, 2014
Matthew 25: 31-46
“Compassion Sunday”
Jimbo Tucker, Tim Kallam, Samuel Orlando

                      1. Read Matthew 25:31-46.  Is it possible to truly love the Lord and not take actions to care for others in need?
                      2. Name 10 opportunities we have every day to help others in need.  And is giving away your money enough or should you also try to become personally involved in some way?
                      3. How can you make helping people in need a part of your everyday life?  How can we teach our children to do the same?
                      4. What are some excuses we give for not helping others?  Are they valid excuses?  Why or why not?  Should people living in severe poverty be exempted from this command?
                      5. Read Matthew 25:45. Will you really go to Hell if you do not help the needy?  Why or why not?


February 23, 2014
Ephesians 2:1-10
“But God”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Although we were formerly doomed because of our sin, through faith we can rest secure in God’s love and grace through Christ.

                      1. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. This describes the human condition apart from God–dead, disobedient, doomed. It is sometimes easy to think you are “less disobedient” than someone else, but Paul leaves no room for this argument. Why not?
                      2. In what areas are you tempted to see yourself as more deserving of God’s grace than others?
                      3. Read Ephesians 2:4-8 out loud. This describes God’s intervention on our behalf. What is it about God’s character and actions that is especially meaningful to you in these verses?
                      4. Read Exodus 34:6. Have you ever thought about the God of the Old Testament as being somehow different than the God of the New Testament? How does this description of God match the description we find in Eph. 2?
                      5. “Scripture is about the work of the Redeemer. There is only one hero in Scripture, and his name is Jesus.” How do you remind yourself to focus on Jesus and not on yourself? (example: celebrating communion)
                      6. Read Romans 5:8. God helps the helpless. How can you say thank you to God for rescuing you?


February 16, 2014
2 Timothy 4:7-8
“A Living Legacy”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought:  The type of legacy you leave depends on the type of life you live.

                      1. Have you ever thought about what kind of legacy you are leaving? What are you doing now to leave a godly legacy that will be remembered after you die and on into eternity?
                      2. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 and Philippians 3:17, Paul calls for us to imitate him as he imitates Christ. Is there any area of your life in which you are following Christ so closely that you want others to imitate?
                      3. The lyrics of the chorus of Dan Fogelberg’s song “Leader of the Band” say: “The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.” Who is the leader of your band and are you a living legacy to him (or her)?
                      4. Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-2. Why do you think stewards have to be faithful? How important is stewardship to all areas of life, such as family, work and church?
                      5. Faithfulness to the word of God comes down to three things: “Learn it, love it and live it.” Which of these three are you faithful to and which one(s) do you struggle with?
                      6. Discuss this statement: “When we are faithful to the word, it allows the word to be in us, deepening our faith and enabling us to face the future with faith instead of fear.”
                      7. Life does not come without pain, but dealing with it is a progression. How do the following three verses illustrate that progression: 2 Corinthians 12:8-9; Romans 8:28; Psalm 73:28?
                      8. Why do you think we go from faith to faith in our Christian journey? How will our faith during life’s storms encourage others and impact our legacy?


February 9, 2014
Psalm 103
“God Loves Dust”
Joel Busby

Sermon Thought: The God of the Bible loves sinners.

                      1. “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” Do you find this to be true when it comes to experiencing God’s love?
                      2. Looking through Psalm 103, what are some of the reasons that the psalmist gives for praising God? Which ones resonate the most with you and why?
                      3. Read Psalm 103:8-10. God does not hold grudges. Now read Eph. 4:32. How should God’s love affect the way we interact with others?
                      4. Compare Psalm 103:11-12 with Romans 8:38-39. It is easy to forget that God loves us like this. What situations or circumstances might cause you to forget this kind of love?
                      5. Look at Psalm 103:14-16. When have you been reminded that you are weak/frail/human? How did you respond?
                      6. Can you think of the words of a favorite worship song that helps you to remember the amazing love of God?
                      7. Do you find yourself resting in God’s grace as you walk through life, or feeling obligated to do things to gain his approval?
                      8. Read Psalm 103:3,12. How do you remind yourself to confess and repent when you fail? Is there anything you need to confess and repent right now?

February 2, 2014
John 3:23-30
“The Examined Life”
Kevin Delaney

Sermon Thought: God calls us to surrender to him in humility in every area of life.

                      1. We have a great “one-liner” to live by at the end of our text today. Start your time by thinking of “one-liners to live by” that you may have heard, make a list. Do these statements have anything in common?
                      2. The Westminster Confession says “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Humans often turn this around and make it, “The chief end of man is to glorify man and endure God on our terms.” Where have you seen examples of the second statement, “glorifying man” or “enduring God on our terms?” Why do have a tendency to glorify and enjoy ourselves instead of making it our aim to glorify God and please Him?
                      3. Read Matthew 16:24. What is the first requirement of being a follower of Jesus? Why do you think that is?
                      4. If anyone had reason to be puffed up, it was John the Baptist–He baptized Jesus! Yet, he demonstrated very little pride. Read John 3:26-27. How does John the Baptist fight pride in v.27? How could you fight pride in the same way?
                      5. Look at John 3:28. John fights pride in this verse by focusing on his mission–to prepare people to follow Jesus. What is your “mission” in life, and how does focusing on it help you to avoid pride?
                      6. Read John 3:29. Do you find it easy or difficult to have joy in others’ success? (In your home, family, friends, work, etc.). Why is this important for serving Christ?
                      7. Look at John 3:30, the “one-liner to live by.” What keeps you from saying this, or living like this? What is the main thing that keeps us from truly saying “I must decrease and Jesus must increase” in my life?
                      8. How are you helping Jesus to “increase?” In what area do you need to “decrease” this week?
                      9. Which of the following three statements of evaluation do you struggle with the most?
                      • Everything you have has come from God. (cf. John 3:27; 1 Corinthians 4:7)
                      • We have to honestly assess ourselves in the light of God’s holiness. (cf. John 3:28)
                      • My joy is complete when I see Christ’s purposes accomplished and Him magnified. (cf. John 3:29-30)

January 26, 2014
“Is Jesus Enough?”
Colossians 1:15-20
Mark Yoder

Sermon Thought: Jesus calls us to worship him by living as though we are created by him and for him.

                      1. Read Col. 1:15,19; 2:9. Paul makes it clear that Jesus is fully God. We get a perfect picture of God by looking at Jesus. How does this truth give you peace?
                      2. Look at Col. 1:16, especially the part that says “all things were created by him and for him.” God loves you and cherishes you as his creation. What are some obstacles that  sometimes keep you from believing this?
                      3. In your own words, what does God want you to accomplish “for” him as his follower? What did he create you “for,” and how can you go about accomplishing it?
                      4. What would it look like to treat other people like they were “created by him and for him?” How can they tell?Do you treat all of creation like it was created by him and for him? How can you tell? Examples?
                      5. God calls us to worship and surrender when we realize who Jesus is. How can you worship this week? What does he want you to surrender?

January 19, 2014
“Trusting God in the New Year: It’s Simple, Not Easy”
Romans 12:12
Tim Kallam

                      1. What are some of the things that make you uneasy about trusting God completely? Make a list.
                      2. Romans 12:12 tells us to rejoice in hope. How do we rejoice in hope in troubled times? Read Romans 5:3-5.
                      3. The verse tells us to “be patient in tribulation.” Discuss Charles Spurgeon’s quote:  “Suffering is essential to sainthood.”
                      4. Have you ever been so depressed that you couldn’t find the words to pray?  What did you do? Read Romans 8:26-28.
                      5. Compare what Paul wrote in Romans 12:12 with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  Are both verses saying pretty much the same thing?
                      6. The one lesson we were instructed to take away from this message was “hold on to God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (read James 4:8)  What keeps us from drawing near to God in good times and bad?

January 12, 2014
“Trusting God in the New Year: Where’s Your Faith?”
Mark 4:35-41
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Our faith in Christ allows us to overcome the fears of life.

                      1. What are some of the things that you fear in life? Make a list.
                      2. A GREAT windstorm (v.37)–Life’s storms can arise quickly and unexpectedly. What are some of the “storms” you have actually encountered in life?
                      3. Look at the outburst in Mark 4:38. Have you ever felt this way when you were in the midst of a “storm?” How did you respond?
                      4. A GREAT Peace–Read Mark 4:39-40. Jesus can help you find peace in the midst of the storm. Jesus asks his disciples, “Where is your faith?” Instead of trusting God, what are some other things that we treat as objects of faith?
                      5. A GREAT Fear–Look at Mark 4:41. There is a healthy fear that overcomes the disabling fears of life. Look back at question #1. How does God’s power and love help you to process the fears that you listed? How can you respond/react to these fears?
                      6. In Mark 4:41 the disciples ask, “Who is this?” Read Romans 8:32, 35-39. In your own words, how would you describe God based on these verses in Romans and this story in Mark 4?

January 5, 2014
“Trusting God in the New Year”
Tim Kallam
Psalm 23

Sermon Thought: God remains faithful throughout all of life’s circumstances.

                      1. Read Psalm 23:1. How do you react to the fact that the Lord of the universe offers to be your shepherd, to have a personal relationship with you? What emotions or feelings does this bring up?
                      2. Notice that in vv.1-3, David talks ABOUT God (“he, his”), but in vv.4-6 he talks TO God (“you, your”). We may talk ABOUT Him in green pastures, but we must talk TO Him in deep valleys. Has this been true in your life? In the lives of others you know?
                      3. Look at Psalm 23:3. God leads us one day at a time, but doesn’t ever show us the whole blueprint for how our life will turn out. Do you ever find yourself frustrated with this, or are you willing to follow one step at a time?
                      4. Look at the end of Psalm 23:5. God says that he makes our cup “overflow.” God fills us with his love and blessing so we can overflow and drench those around us. Who around you needs to experience God’s love and blessing as it overflows from you?
                      5. Look at how 23:6 ends this psalm. Compare with Romans 8:38-39. What truth does God want you to hear in these verses, and how does it affect the way you make decisions from day to day?


December 29, 2013
“Here is Love”
Marcus Busenitz
Romans 5:1-8

Sermon Thought: Jesus’ actions demonstrate God’s love to us, and we are called to demonstrate his love to others as well.

                      1. Romans 5:8 says that God “demonstrates” his love for people. How have you seen people “demonstrate” their love for each other? (friends, married couples, parents, etc.)
                      2. Look at Romans 5:6. God loved us sacrificially through Christ’s death. How can you sacrificially love him in return?
                      3. Romans 5:6-8 states that God loved us even though we didn’t deserve it. Is there anyone with whom you are reluctant to share God’s love?
                      4. Read through Romans 5:1-11. Make a list of the things that Christ’s love accomplishes. Which one resonates with you the most and why?
                      5. To whom can you demonstrate God’s love this week?


December 22, 2013
“Enter the Story: Worship Fully”
Tim Kallam
Luke 1

Sermon Thought: Christ’s birth leads us to worship our God in many different ways as we experience life.

                      1. Read Matthew 2:1-2. The wise men made a great effort to come and worship the newborn king. Do you feel like your worship requires effort or comes naturally?
                      2. Read Luke 1:46-47; 67-69. Both Mary and Zechariah respond to the announcement of Christ’s coming by worshiping the Lord verbally. In what settings and what ways can you worship the Lord verbally?
                      3. Read Luke 2:17-19. Mary also worshiped through quiet reflection and contemplation. When have you worshiped in this way? Is there any specific situation or Scripture passage about which you feel led to meditate on/worship?
                      4. Look at Luke 2:13-14,20. Both the shepherds and the angels worship with exuberant praise. When have you felt like worshiping “exuberantly?” What do you think this would look like for you?
                      5. Look at Matthew 2:11, Romans 12:1. The wise men worshiped through giving extravagant and costly gifts. What do you think God wants you to give him sacrificially right now?

December 15, 2013
Luke 2:8-20
“Enter the Story: Experience Joy”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: True joy can only be found in Christ, and it is our privilege to proclaim this message.

                      1. An atheist billboard makes the following statement: “Who needs Christ during Christmas? Nobody.” How could you respond graciously to someone who makes a statement like this?
                      2. Look at Luke 2:10. The words “fear not” are used frequently throughout the Christmas story. Name some of your fears–past or present. How does Christ’s coming affect these fears?
                      3. The angel says that this good news will be for “ALL people.” Read Romans 5:8. How should this affect your choice of the people with whom you share the good news?
                      4. Notice that God gives this angelic message to the lowly shepherds–people who are uneducated and poor. Do you ever feel like your human wisdom or your financial wealth are obstacles to embracing Jesus?
                      5. Look at Luke 2:16-18. The shepherds couldn’t stop talking about the good news of Jesus’ birth. When, where, with whom can you share this good news in the next 10 days?

December 8, 2013
“Enter the Story: Discover Peace”
Romans 5:1-8; Philippians 4:6-7
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God brings true and eternal peace through the birth of Jesus to all who trust in him.

                      1. Read Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53:5; Romans 5:1,8. The Prince of Peace has come to make peace WITH God possible, even though we don’t deserve it. How should this motivate you to share God’s love with others? Particularly with individuals who are “unpleasant” or “difficult?”
                      2. Read Philippians 4:6-8. The world’s definition of peace is dependent on the circumstances around us. How would you describe “the peace OF God” in your own words? How does it differ from the world’s idea of “peace?”
                      3. Do you feel like the “peace of God” is present in your life? How can you tell?
                      4. Look at Matthew 1:22-23. Rather than simply giving us an instruction manual on how to make peace, Jesus came and became one of us, giving himself to bring salvation. If you have trusted him for your salvation, how does this affect your ability to experience peace in the midst of difficult circumstances? How does Christ’s redemption affect the way you look at difficulties?
                      5. Jesus has promised to come again and set all things right. How does this promise give you peace in the midst of your current life circumstances?

November 24, 2013
Learning to Live Counterintuitively
Part 3: Give Thanks . . . Always? In Everything?
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God calls us to give thanks in everything, especially for his Son Jesus Christ.

                      1. Read 1 Chron. 16:34. Make a list of 5 things you are thankful for. How did God provide these for you?
                      2. How is God developing you into a follower of Christ? Who or what can you thank him for in this process?
                      3. Look at 1 Thess. 5:18. This is a call to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Can you name some recent circumstances where you found it difficult to give thanks? What did you do instead?
                      4. Look at Philippians 4:6. This a call to pray and give thanks perpetually. How do prayer and thanksgiving help to counteract anxiety?
                      5. “Thanksgiving requires an active mind and a thankful heart.” Why are both important, and how can you cultivate both regularly?
                      6. Does celebrating Communion tend to help you remember to give thanks? How do you give thanks during or after celebrating Communion?

November 17, 2013
“Learning to Live Counterintuitively Part 2: Joyful Generosity”
2 Corinthians 8-9
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God calls us to imitate His heart of generosity in every area of life.

                      1. Sonny, an MBCC member, shared how God used a specific event to help his family grow in the area of generosity. Has God ever used a specific situation or event to stimulate your generosity?
                      2. Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Notice that God’s grace is mentioned as the motivation for the generosity that happens. How have you experienced God’s generous grace? How does it motivate you to be generous?
                      3. Look at 2 Corinthians 8:9. Generosity has a variety of looks: words of encouragement, finances/resources, forgiveness, prayers, acts of kindness, time, etc. In which area(s) do you find it easiest to demonstrate generosity? In which areas do you find it most difficult?
                      4. Who is the most generous person you know in non-financial matters? (generous words, time, forgiveness, etc.) What do you think motivates that person?
                      5. Read 2 Cor. 8:8. Generosity can “prove” the genuineness of our love as Christians. When we give, the world takes notice. Can you think of an example where this has happened?
                      6. In your own words, define what is generosity? What is it NOT?

November 10, 2013
“Learning to Live Counterintuitively”
Tim Kallam

                      1. Tim introduced the concept of “counterintuitive.” He mentioned there are many things we assume about “the way the world works.” In life, home, family, finances, what are some of these basic assumptions?
                      2. Tim used the cross as the ultimate example, but can you think of ways that Christianity, and the Christian story, critiques and challenges our assumptions about “the way the world works”? (ex. “Better to give than to receive”)
                      3. Tim mentioned that we often have a “faulty GPS.” In other words, there are certain things we chase that we assume will lead us to a destination of happiness, but in the end they leave us empty. Can you think of an example in your life when something you were leaning on to bring you happiness left you empty?
                      4. “Take up your cross…” How can this, at times abstract, concept take shape practically in our ordinary lives? Try to be extremely, almost overly, practical in your response.

November 3, 2013
“Can You Hear Me Now?”
Mark Yoder

Sermon Thought: God asks us to practice fasting as a tool to strengthen our spiritual walk.

                      1. What are some common reasons that people give for why they avoid fasting?
                      2. Fasting seems to “amplify” prayers and spiritual walk. In Scripture, we see David fasting as part of the mourning process (2 Samuel 12:14-31). We see the Ninevites fasting as part of the repentance process (Jonah 3:4-5). We see Jesus fasting as part of his process of preparing for ministry (Matt. 4:1-2). Is there any circumstance in your life right now that could benefit from fasting? Why?
                      3. Fasting speaks to us as we practice it. To our physical desires, it’s like we are saying, “You are not the boss of me!” Why is it important to remember this from time to time?
                      4. When we fast, it is like we say to our spirit/spiritual walk, “You are the most easily ignored part of me, but you are the most important thing right now.” What are some of the things that lead you to ignore your own spiritual growth? How could fasting help with this?
                      5. Fasting also proclaims to God that he is more important than anything else in our lives. Read Matthew 13:45-46. When are you most aware that you have this great treasure, or how great this treasure really is? How could fasting help you to remember this more often?

October 27, 2013
Joshua 3:1-17
“Show Me Your Glory: The Glory of the Cross”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God is glorified when we faithfully follow him in all circumstances.

                      1. Look at Joshua 3:4. Joshua is about to encounter a challenging situation, and God reminds him, “You have not passed this way before.” Can you think of a challenging situation you have encountered, an experience where you could say, “I have not passed this way before?” How did you respond?
                      2. Read Joshua 3:3. God tells the people to focus on the ark, the symbol of his presence. Do you find it easy or difficult to focus on God’s presence when you face challenging circumstances? Why?
                      3. Look at the end of Joshua 3:15. Why do you think God chose to have the Israelites cross the Jordan River at THIS TIME (during flood season)?
                      4. Thinking back about some of the challenging life circumstances you have faced (or are facing), can you think of reasons why God allowed those circumstances at THAT specific time?
                      5. God wants more and more people to recognize his glory, how amazing he is. Read 2 Cor. 4:15. Who are some of the “more and more” people in your life that need to experience God’s grace? Name a couple of people with whom you can share God’s grace, and then pray for an opportunity and for boldness.

October 20, 2013
Exodus 33:1-6, 12-18; 34:6-8
“Show Me Your Glory!”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God’s presence with us leads us to worship him wholeheartedly.

                      1. To want God’s blessings more than God himself is idolatry. What are some of the “common blessings” that we have come to expect, with or without God? (example: roof over our heads). Make a list.
                      2. When we remember why God gives us these blessings, it helps us to fix this problem. For each of the blessings mentioned in #1, state why you think God allows you to receive that blessing, what is its purpose? How does it fit into God’s plan for you?
                      3. Read Exodus 33:3-4. The Israelites realize that it would be a disaster to have the blessings of God without the presence of God. Why did they feel so strongly? Do you feel the same way?
                      4. Read Exodus 33:18; 34:6-8. What does God reveal about himself in response to Moses’ prayer? What things are true about God? (Make a list)
                      5. Which of these attributes resonates the most deeply with you right now, and why do you think that God wants you to realize it right now?
                      6. God wants us to sincerely seek him, not just treat him like a bellhop or a good waiter, whom we tip because he serves us well. How can we avoid this attitude, remember who God really is? What are specific ways that you can remember this, or lead others to remember this?

October 13, 2013
Matthew 16:13-20
“Church Is…Irrepressible”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Christ  promises to accomplish his mission of building his Church through us.

                      1. Read Matthew 16:13. Suppose you walked out on the street and asked people, “Who do you say that Jesus is?” What answers do you think you would hear?
                      2. Read Matthew 16:15. Suppose someone on the street asks you, “Who do you say that Jesus is?” How would you answer this question? Could you tweet your answer in 140 characters or less?
                      3. Look at Matthew 16:18. Jesus basically says, “I will build my church, and I will invite you (Peter) to be a part.” How has God invited YOU to be a part of building his Church? Specifically what has he asked YOU to do to help build it in the past 12 months?
                      4. Notice in Matt. 16:18, Jesus says “I will build MY church.” Why is it so easy for us to forget that it is Jesus’ church? How can you tell when a church forgets whom it belongs to?
                      5. Jesus says that he has defeated death and hell (Matt. 16:18). Read 1 Corinthians 15:56-58. How does Jesus’ victory over death motivate you this week? Give a specific example of why you needed to realize this truth today.
                      6. This sermon concludes the “Church is. . .” series. Take a look at the different topics/sermons. Which of these resonated the most with you? Which was most eye-opening? What else do you still have questions about? Church is:  An Imperfect Family (Eph. 2:14-22), A Committed Community (Acts 2:42-47), Both/And, not Either/Or (Heb. 10:24-25), The Fellowship of the Forgiven (Luke 7:36-50), Living Proof of a Loving God (Acts 1:4-8; Matt. 5:13-16), Irrepressible (Matt. 16:13-20)

October 6, 2013
Acts 1:4-8; Matthew 5:13-16
“Church Is…Living Proof of a Loving God”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Jesus calls us to rely on his Holy Spirit as we lead people to experience his amazing love and grace.

                      1. React to the following statement: “We can do things to draw a crowd, but only the Holy Spirit can change a life.” Can you name some examples of how you have seen churches seek to draw crowds? Can you name some examples of how you have seen God use his people to change lives?
                      2. Look at Acts 17:6. The early apostles were described as “turning the world upside down.” Could the Church today be described in this way? Why or why not?
                      3. Can you think of some specific ways that the world might have turned the Church upside down? How can these be remedied?
                      4. Look at Acts 1:4-5. Jesus instructs his followers to wait for the Holy Spirit before they attempt to share His love. How do you know if you are depending on the Holy Spirit or not as you seek to serve Christ? How can you make sure you are depending on Him?
                      5. Read Matthew 5:13-16. Salt is a preserving agent. How can you preserve God’s love, grace, goodness, justice, and mercy in a world that is running away from him?
                      6. How do you think the community around us sees our church? What would their reaction be if they heard that our church was closing its doors tomorrow?

September 29, 2013
Luke 7:36-50
“Church Is . . . The Fellowship of the Forgiven”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Jesus forgives much for all who have faith in him, and he calls us to worship him together.

                      1. Read Luke 7:36-50 out loud. What tone of voice do you think Jesus used when he spoke to the people in this story? How do you think you would have spoken to the people in this story?
                      2. Simon saw the woman as someone to despise, Jesus saw her as someone to love. When you look at the people around you, do you see them as Jesus sees them? How can you tell? How can they tell?
                      3. In this story, the woman knows that Jesus sees her as clean rather than dirty, forgiven rather than guilty, blessed rather than used. How can you be certain that Jesus sees you this way? Have you ever felt like he doesn’t? (Look at Psalm 103:10-13).
                      4. This woman demonstrated her love for Jesus to all who saw her. How do you visibly demonstrate your love for Jesus?
                      5. Spend some time praying that Jesus will give us his eyes as we look at the people around us.

September 22, 2013
“Church Is…Both/And, not Either/Or”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The Church is called to be both gathered and scattered, both attractional and missional, and both deep and wide.

                      1. Some churches tend to emphasize “gathering together.” Why is this emphasis important? How can this tendency be dangerous?
                      2. Some churches tend to emphasize “scattering” to proclaim Christ. Why is this emphasis important? How can this tendency be dangerous?
                      3. Read Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Tim. 4:13-16. According to these verses, what should happen when believers meet together? Which do you see happening at our church? Which do we need to work on? How can you help with the things that need work?
                      4. Reflect on this statement: “We gather together as a church so we can go out to proclaim Christ.” Think about the things/activities you do when you gather at MBCC. How do these things prepare you to go out?
                      5. Look at 2 Cor. 5:20. Who do you know that needs to “be reconciled to God?” Name at least one or two people who don’t know Christ, and then pray for them by name.

September 15, 2013
“Church is…a committed community”
Acts 2:42-47
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: A church that fulfills its mission is a church that is full of members who are committed to one another as they follow Christ’s teaching.

                      1. Reflect on the following quote, “It is Biblically impossible to follow Christ apart from his Church.” Why do you think that Scripture places such an emphasis on commitment to a church?
                      2. Look at Acts 2:42-47. When the Holy Spirit is poured out on the early church, what are the practical results that we see in this passage? (what actions are people taking, or what character traits are revealed by their actions?)
                      3. How can you demonstrate some of the same character qualities in your church this week? This month? This year? Try to be specific.
                      4. The commitment to a local church body is a covenant relationship. Instead of asking, “What can I get out of Church?” we should ask “What can we give to serve the Church?” Can you think of examples of what happens when you have seen people ask either one of these questions?
                      5. Read Hebrews 13:17.  Why do you think Scripture emphasizes the importance of being committed to following church leaders? What makes this easy? What makes it difficult?


September 8, 2013
Eph. 2:14-22; 1 Tim. 3:15-16
“Church Is…an imperfect family”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: As part of the Church, we seek to embrace the “messiness” of life together, encounter the living Christ, and engage in His mission.

                      1. Scripture often refers to the Church as a “family” or “household.” Families can be messy at times. How have you experienced the “messiness” of church?
                      2. Families can also be amazing and beautiful. How have you experienced the beauty of the church?
                      3. How can you encourage or facilitate growth in others in our church?
                      4. The Church exists to help people encounter the living Christ. Read 1 Tim. 3:15-16. When do you MOST feel like you are encountering the living Christ? (could be an event, an activity, etc.)
                      5. Read 1 Pet. 2:9-10. Where is God leading you to proclaim his “excellencies,” his gospel? Is there a particular friendship, setting, or situation where you can share about Jesus’ love?


August 18, 2013
“God is Great, God is Good”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: We are able to stand strong through difficulties when we truly know God.

                      1. A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” What comes into your mind when you think about God, and why is this important?
                      2. Daniel 11:32b says, “Those who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” It is important to know God, not to just know ABOUT God. Can you think of examples of how truly knowing God has helped you or someone else to take action, to do the right thing?
                      3. Read Joshua 1:9. What recent circumstances in life have tempted you to be afraid or discouraged?
                      4. Look at 1 Samuel 17:37. This is the story of David and Goliath. In this verse, David proclaims that he has seen God’s faithfulness in the past, and that he is confident in God’s faithfulness in the future. Can you think of situations where God’s faithfulness in the past enabled you to endure later difficulties?
                      5. Read Hosea 6:3. Hosea challenges God’s people to pursue Him and know Him. Can you name one or two things you are doing, or need to start doing, so you can “press on to know the Lord?”
                      6. Consider these names that describe who God is. Which resonates with your life circumstances now, and why? Almighty God; Lord God of My Salvation; Lord who provides; Lord our Peace; Lord our Healer; Lord who is there; Lord my strength; other?


June 23, 2013
Galatians 3:10-29
“The Curse and The Cross”
Series: Gospel Matters
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Jesus graciously rescues us from the curse of sin so that we can live Spirit-filled lives free from bondage to sin.

                      1. Read Galatians 3:10-14. The law is a curse to humans because it reveals our inability to achieve righteousness on our own. Think of ways that you might have fallen into trying to please God or earn his favor or achieve righteousness by your own efforts. List some specific actions or activities. How does this passage encourage you to examine your heart?
                      2. Look at Gal. 3:11. In 2013, what does it look like for a Christian to “live by faith” when it comes to justification? What attitudes or actions will be present? What are some obstacles to “living by faith?”
                      3. Look at Gal. 3:23-29. If the law can’t save anyone, why did God give it to humanity?
                      4. John Stott says, “The ‘curse of the law’ from which Christ redeemed us must be the curse resting on us for our disobedience (v.10). And he redeemed us from it by ‘becoming a curse’ himself. He voluntarily took our curse upon himself in order to deliver us from it.” What does this reveal about Christ’s character, what character qualities would you use to describe Christ and this act?
                      5. Think of someone you know who is struggling with self-effort. How can you help restore that person to trust in Christ alone?
                      6. Look at Gal. 3:28-29. Differences of race, social standing and gender obviously exist among Christians. What should be Christians’ attitude toward these natural differences?


June 16, 2013
Galatians 3:1-14
“A Legacy of Faith For All People For All Time”
Series: Gospel Matters
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: When we truly understand the Good News of Jesus, we will proclaim it to the nations as we walk by faith.

                      1. Just like parents pass tangible things on to their children (skills, business, inheritance, etc.), God asks us to pass our faith on as well. How can you pass your faith on to your children, or to others around you?
                      2. Look at Galatians 3:1-5. Paul confronts the Galatians because they have added something to the free grace of God. He basically says, “Did you receive the Spirit of God by obeying the law, or by believing the Good News of Jesus?” What are some things that people do to try to gain favor with God?
                      3. Look at Gal. 3:6-7. Abraham received God’s promise because of his faith. He had no cause for boasting. Why are pride and boasting such an obstacle to living out your faith? Where are you most tempted to exhibit pride?
                      4. Martin Luther said that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Why do you need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ today? What current situations does the gospel affect in your life?
                      5. Look at Gal. 3:8-9, Genesis 12:3. God’s plan was to make peace with all nations, not just his chosen people–a message to be shared. Who do you know that is not at peace with God? Name some specific names. How do you think you can share about your faith in Christ with them?

June 9, 2013
Galatians 2: 17-21
“Grace! Yeah, but…”
Series: Gospel Matters
Mark Yoder

1. Mark talked about our tendency to “add” law to our faith. Why do you think we do this?

Here are some questions about each of the short statements:
2. THROUGH THE LAW I DIED TO THE LAW, THAT I MIGHT LIVE TO GOD. Jesus wants to wreck our mindset and build from scratch. What part of your thinking has God had to work on the most?

3. I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST. It’s not about us. My way is over and I’m done with it. What do you think it “looks like” on a person who has been crucified with Christ?

4. IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME. We “smell like Jesus”! You likely have people whose faith is very attractive to you. What is it about them that makes this so?

5. AND THE LIFE I LIVE IN THE FLESH I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD… Life is still a battle. What are some bit’s of advice, or lessons you have learned, that help you “battle better”?


June 2, 2013
Galatians 2:1-10
“Common Ground, the Truth of the Gospel”
Series: Gospel Matters
Kevin DeLaney

Sermon Thought: The message of the gospel is available to all regardless of background.

1. Read through Gal. 2:1-10. Paul is not willing to let anyone or anything stand in the way of him proclaiming the gospel. Name some specific people or things that make it difficult for you to share the gospel. What can you do to work around these obstacles?

2. Paul’s opponents were adding external obedience to the gospel, saying that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Read Eph. 2:8-9. How does this Eph. passage contrast with what Paul’s opponents are saying? Have you ever felt like you needed to earn God’s love/salvation?

3. Look at Gal. 2:10. Even though Paul and his opponents clashed over certain issues, they were united in caring for the poor–a tangible demonstration of God’s love. How can you tangibly demonstrate God’s love to someone this week?

4. What traditions or experiences do we impose on the gospel? How do we communicate these “requirements?”

5. Look at 1 Cor. 9:19-23– Paul says that he uses all his experiences in life to share God’s love with others. How can you use the experiences you have this week for eternal value?


May 26, 2013
Galatians 1:11-24
“Transforming Grace”
Series: Gospel Matters
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God is glorified when people are transformed by his gospel–his free offer of salvation from sin.

1. Look at Gal. 1:13-14,23. Paul’s background seems to make him an unlikely spokesperson for the gospel. Is there anything in your past or present circumstances that makes you an unlikely spokesperson for the gospel? How did God’s grace overcome/transform Paul’s circumstances? How can God’s grace overcome yours?

2. What are some common reasons/excuses that people give for being unwilling to proclaim the gospel? Make a list. How do you think Paul would challenge these excuses, based on his conversion experience? (Gal. 1:15-16a)

3. Look at Gal. 1:15-16. Paul describes God as one who pursues, loves, and accepts. Specifically, how does God want you to demonstrate these aspects of his character? In what settings or situations?

4. Paul emphasizes the necessity of humility in his conversion and calling (Gal. 1:22). He had to give up his pride in his religion to follow Jesus. If you are a believer, how does pride keep you from following Jesus more effectively? How does pride interfere with God using you? How can you work to eliminate pride?

5. Look at Gal. 1:16; 1 Peter 2:9. Paul says that he was rescued/saved for the purpose of “preaching Him among the Gentiles.” We share the same purpose, to proclaim the good news of Jesus to those who don’t know him. Paul names the “Gentiles.” Name at least one or two individuals you know who need to hear about the “excellencies of him who has called us out of darkness and into his wonderful light.” Pause and pray for them by name.

6. Read Galatians 1:24. What can you say or do this week that will cause people to glorify God?


May 19, 2013
Galatians 1:1-10
“Don’t Mess with the Message”
Series: Gospel Matters
Tim Kallam

1. Paul discusses at length, the Gospel. What is the Gospel? What are verses that key us in to the true meaning of the Gospel?

2. Grace was also a key term in the sermon. What is your definition of grace? How has it developed over time?

3. Tim stated that we can do nothing for God to love us less or more. How does this resonate within you? Is this true? Do we live as if it is true? How do we live in the knowledge of this freeing truth?

4. Often times when grace is discussed people become wary of the topic (afraid of too good an offer, afraid people will exploit the gift…). What should our proper response to grace be? Paul does offer caution in Romans 6 about taking advantage of the grace of God. How does Paul warn the Romans to view grace?

5. Read Galatians 1:8-9 and Philippians 1:15-18. In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul harshly criticizes the preaching of a “different gospel.” How does this differ from his acceptance of preaching with impure motives in Philippians 1:15:18?

Applying to today- How do people in our current culture preach different gospels? Is being culturally relevant bad, sometimes bad, or good? What is the proper way to contextualize the Gospel, without diluting or creating an unnecessary burden?


May 12, 2013
“The Portrait of an Encourager: It’s Not About Me!”
Acts
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God calls us to be encouragers as we focus on Him and take his Gospel to a world that needs his love.

1. Look at Acts 4:32-37, esp. v. 36. Joseph was nicknamed “Barnabas” because he was a great encourager. If your friends/family used a POSITIVE character quality as a nickname for you, what would it be? (brave, compassionate, etc.).

2. Look at Acts 9:26-27. Barnabas took a risk and invested in Saul to help him share the gospel with others. Has anyone every invested in you in this way? Is there anyone in whom you should invest so that God can use you to develop them as a follower of Christ?

3. Look at Acts 11:25-26. When Barnabas sees that God is working, he immediately goes to look for someone to assist him in doing God’s work. Is your first tendency to try to conquer a task like this alone, or is your tendency to seek for others to work as a team? Why do you think it is important to accomplish God’s mission as part of a team, not as an individual?

4. Four questions to ask of an encourager:

                      • How can I use my resources to encourage others for the sake of the Gospel?
                      • How can I use my influence to encourage others for the sake of the Gospel?
                      • Am I willing to set aside my ego to encourage others for the sake of the Gospel? How could I do this?
                      • Do I believe in the power of the Gospel to transform lives to the glory of God? Where have I seen this happen? Where does God want to use me to participate in his transformation of lives?

May 5, 2013
1 Sam. 30:1-6; Psalm 73
“When your Strength is Gone”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Even when we encounter difficult circumstances, we are called to rely completely on God.

                      1. Look at 1 Samuel 30:1-6. When David faced discouraging circumstances, he turned to the Lord. What are some practical ways that you can turn to the Lord to find strength when you face hard circumstances?
                      2. Look at Psalm 73:3-12. When you are struggling with a hard situation, have you ever felt envious or bitter of others who are not facing circumstances like yours? Why is this dangerous? (vv.15-16)
                      3. Look at v.17. The Psalmist finds understanding when he gathers together with other God-followers. Can you think of a time when you or someone you know has been encouraged through the gathering of believers?
                      4. Name someone in our church whom you need to encourage in the next 7 days. How will you make this happen?
                      5. Look at vv.23-26. What are some things that you are tempted to desire more than your relationship with God? How could these desires lead to problems when you face difficult times?
                      6. Look at v.28. One reason we need to rely on God is so that we are able to tell of all his works to others. Can you name some of God’s specific works toward you that you need to share with others? Can you name some of the people with whom you need to share these things?

April 21, 2013
“It’s Not Over, Even When You’re Facing the Impossible”
Tim Kallam

1. Throughout Exodus (ch. 14:10-12, 16::1-3, 17: 1-3), what is the reaction the Israelites have to Moses who has lead them out of Egypt? Why are they reacting this way?

2. God consistently does not give us, much like the Israelites, the easy way out. What would be the reasons to causing tough situations? (remember Joshua 3:1-4 – coming to the banks of the flooding Jordan)

3. Have someone in the group explain the imagery of the flyer and the catcher. If we are to see God as our catcher, what does that mean to us as “flyers?” What are examples of opportunities for us to be flyers?

4. Tim noted that Joshua makes mention of the Ark of the Covenant multiple times throughout the entire book. What was the significance of the Ark for the people of Israel? Are there memories in your own life that act as an “ark” for you to remember God’s faithfulness and deliverance for you?

5. Tim’s points in the morning’s message centered on leaning on God in the impossible. Recall his points:

                      • Must be convinced of our need of God
                      • Turn to God not away from God
                      • Sense God’s presence in the circumstance
                      • Faith is not a one time event, but an ongoing part of life

Which of these are the most difficult for you. When have you been able to lean into this idea and trust God?

6. Turn to Matthew 6:28 – Jesus’s teaching on worry – What lessons can we take from Jesus’s message that God cares for us more than the flowers and animals? How does worry relate to faith? What are practical steps to not allowing worry to overcome your faith? **Can an action done in faith lead to failure?


April 14, 2013
John 21:15-19
“It’s Not Over, Even When We Fail”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: God freely extends forgiveness and restoration to all, even when we fail. Read John 21:15-19. Spend some time talking about Jesus‘ method of restoring Peter. Why do you think it is so effective?

                      1. Point #1– “Never say never when it comes to your capacity to fail.” Look at Mark 14:29-31. Peter says that he will never deny Christ or turn away from him, but he clearly underestimates his capacity to fail. Why is it important for us to realize that we also have the capacity to fail? How might this realization affect the way we make choices? Are there any specific choices you are facing right now that are affected by this realization?
                      2. Point #2– “Never say never when it comes to Jesus’ capacity to forgive.” Look at 1 Pet. 2:10. Peter mentions God’s abundant mercy. Can you name a time when you experienced mercy, either from God or from another person? How did it make you respond?
                      3. Point #3– “Never say never when it comes to Jesus’ capacity to restore.” In John 21, Jesus asks Peter three times to reaffirm his love and faith in Jesus. How can you continually reaffirm your love for Christ? How can you express to him your love?
                      4. Point #4– “Never say never when it comes to Jesus’ capacity to transform others.” Have you ever been tempted to give up on someone that needs Jesus’ transforming love? How could you wisely show that person God’s love?

April 7, 2013
Luke 24:13-35
“It’s not Over, Even When Life Doesn’t Turn Out Like You Thought It Would”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Jesus molds broken hearts into believing hearts because of the power of his resurrection.

                      1. The account of the road to Emmaus shows us that the important thing is not only the destination, but also the journey. In life, does your personality tend to focus more on the “destination” or the “journey?” What about in your spiritual walk?
                      2. Read Luke 24:13-15; Psalm 34:18. Jesus “drew near” to the travelers while they were on the road to Emmaus. He walked beside them in their brokenness and opened their hearts to The Hope. Can you think of a difficult time in your life when you knew that Jesus was near to you? How did you know?
                      3. Read Luke 24:21. Can you name something in life for which you have hoped that did not become a reality? (job, health, etc.) How do you usually respond to events like this? How does your faith affect your response?
                      4. Look at Luke 24:25-27. Jesus turns their broken heart into a believing heart. He does this in part by explaining things that have always been true. What are some truths or Scripture texts that you know that reassure you when you encounter difficult times?
                      5. Look at Luke 24:33. This news is so good that it can’t be kept to ourselves. Can you think of someone who is brokenhearted or hurting right now? Someone who needs to hear this message of hope? When can you share it with them and how will you share it?

March 24, 2013
Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19
“What’d They Say?”
Mark Yoder

Sermon Thought: We are called to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, not only with our words but also with our actions.

                      1. Matthew 21:1-11. For at least a brief moment, the crowds seem to recognize who Jesus is–the promised Messiah–and they respond with a spontaneous celebration. Have you ever had a moment when you clearly recognized God’s power at work? How did you respond?
                      2. The people say “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus was the one that God sent to rescue his people, but he didn’t look the way people would expect a great king to look. Has God ever come to your aid in a way that you didn’t expect?
                      3. God’s plan to rescue his people included challenging and unpleasant circumstances (Jesus’ betrayal, trial, beating, and crucifixion). Paul says that the same sort of things are true for him as he follows Christ (see 2 Cor. 4:7-12). What are some difficulties that may “interfere” with your desire to follow and proclaim Christ?
                      4. Many of the people in this crowd went from crying “hosanna” to shouting “crucify him” in less than seven days. There is a difference between Jesus’ fans and Jesus’ followers, and verbal affirmation doesn’t guarantee full commitment. Do you find it easy to be a “follower” in some settings and not in others? Explain.
                      5. Can you share one thing to credit God’s work in your life over the past several months? Something that has changed as a result of your faith in Jesus the Messiah?

March 17, 2013
Luke 9:18-24
“Take up your . . . cross?”
Joel Busby

Sermon Thought: Following Jesus is both harder and better than what we might think.

                      1. Jesus’ identity is one of the main focal points in the first four books of the New Testament. Picture yourself as an average person living in Judea during the time of Christ. You have sat under Jesus’ teaching and have seen some of his miracles, but he has not yet been crucified. Using your own words, how do you think you would describe or explain Jesus to a friend? (his character, his personality, his occupation, his purpose, etc.)
                      2. Look at Luke 9:18-20; Mark 8:29-33. Peter assumes that Jesus will demonstrate political and military dominance as the Messiah. This is what Peter and others desire. Jesus points out that Peter’s heart is set on the “things of man” (Mark 8:33). Can you name some of the “things of man” that people today desire or expect because they are following Christ?
                      3. Read Luke 9:23. Jesus tells each one of His followers to “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” When you think about following Jesus, have you thought of it more as taking a class, or as taking up a cross? Why have you thought this way?
                      4. Jesus asks us to view life through a “cross-shaped” lens, to focus on how we can deny ourselves in order to follow Him. In which area(s) of life do you most need to adjust your view, and why? Work, Family, Leisure Time, Finances, etc.
                      5. When Jesus took up the cross, he was executed for our sin, revealing his great love. We are called to imitate his love and sacrifice as we love God and others on a day-to-day basis. Can you name a specific way that God is asking you to “take up your cross daily?” How can you habitually deny yourself in order to show God’s love?
                      6. Is there anything “bold” or “extraordinary” that God is asking you to do as you follow him?

March 10, 2013
Series: The End of the World as We Know It
Romans 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Because all believers will be evaluated for their faithfulness at the judgment seat of Christ, we are called to invest our lives in things that are eternally significant.

                      1. Why is it that most people dread evaluation at work, school, etc.? What would make this attitude change so that “evaluation” is something to which people look forward?
                      2. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. Whether past or present, name some pursuits in your life that could be called “wood, hay, or straw,” things that might be exposed as meaningless. Name some pursuits that could be called “gold, silver, and precious stones,” things that might be exposed as meaningful and eternally significant.
                      3. How would you explain the reality of the judgment seat of Christ to a child?
                      4. Name one new possible area where God may be encouraging you to invest your time, your treasure, or your talents? If nothing comes to mind, how do you think you can discover the places God wants you to invest?
                      5. Jesus commands all of us to make disciples (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20). This process could be described as investing in people who will then go on to invest in more people. Are you currently investing in anyone spiritually? If so, pause right now to pray for them. Can you name anyone else in whom God wants you to invest?

March 3, 2013
Series: The End of the World As We Know It
“Living for the Long Tomorrow”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Living with an eternal perspective will cause us to live faithfully and worship passionately as we wait expectantly.

                      1. Look at 1 Peter 2:9-12. God challenges us to view ourselves as “aliens and strangers” here on earth. How does this perspective help us to accomplish the task given in 1Pet. 2:9? (“proclaiming the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”).
                      2. How does this perspective help us to live in accordance with the lifestyle described in 1 Pet. 2:11-12? (“abstaining from the passions of the flesh . . . keeping your conduct honorable”).
                      3. Matthew 24:36 tells us that we cannot know when Christ will return. Now read Romans 8:22-25, where we are challenged to be patient as we wait for Christ’s coming. Is there a particular situation in life for which you need to demonstrate patience, something that makes you long for Christ’s return NOW? What will patience look like?
                      4. As we wait for Christ, we are called to live faithfully with an eternal perspective. This eternal perspective does three things: A) Gives hope in adversity (2 Cor. 4:7-12); B) Reorders our priorities (Matthew 6:19-21); C) Renews our sense of mission (Acts 1:7-8). With which of these three things do you struggle the most? Why? Which one comes easiest to you?
                      5. Look at 2 Peter 3:8-13. Is there something specific you think God wants you to do based on these verses and the reality that Christ is coming again?
                      6. Read Ephesians 1:7-10. What are the specific things mentioned (make a list) for which we can worship God? What will your worship look like?

February 24, 2013
“The Reason We Forgive”
Matthew 18:21-35
Kevin Delaney

Sermon Thought: God shows us how to forgive, and he asks us to forgive in the same way.

                      1. Read the parable of “The Unforgiving Servant,” (Matt. 18:21-35). With which servant can you most identify, and why?
                      2. If a person identifies with the first servant, what message does God want them to hear? (see v.27). Is there any situation in your life where you especially need to embrace this message?
                      3. If a person identifies with the second servant, what message does God want them to hear? (see v.32-33). Is there any situation in your life where you especially need to embrace this message?
                      4. Look at Ephesians 4:32. Can you think of someone you need to forgive? In this situation, what will it look like if you “release” that person?
                      5. Do you need to be forgiven for something? What obstacles might keep you from asking forgiveness, and how can you overcome those obstacles?
                      6. Forgiveness can be described in a number of different ways. Which of the following descriptions do you find most helpful, and why? Can you think of another way to describe forgiveness? A) Releasing; B) Asking God for grace; C) Active Process; D) An Ongoing Decision
                      7. Read Colossians 3:13, Romans 5:8. Sometimes you may not “feel” like forgiving someone. How can you try to follow God’s pattern in a situation where you feel this way?
                      8. How is our celebration of Communion a picture of God’s forgiveness?

February 17, 2013
Series: “The End of the World As We Know It”
“All Things Made New”
Revelation 21
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: The hope of heaven gives strength to follow Christ and endure the circumstances of life.

                      1. It is sometimes easy to go days, weeks, or months without talking about heaven or even thinking about it. Why is it so easy to “forget” about the hope of heaven as we live in a broken world? And why is it important for believers to think about heaven regularly?
                      2. In Revelation 21, we are given a snapshot of heaven. Look at Rev. 21:3. Three times it is emphasized that God will be “with” all his people. Why is this emphasized?
                      3. Look at Rev. 21:4–several things will change from how we experience life now: no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. What situation in your life is affected by this promise? (something you are experiencing, or someone you know who is experiencing something)
                      4. Read Revelation 21:5. God promises to cleanse whatever has been touched and polluted by sin. Now read 2 Cor. 5:17–can you think of evidence for how God has already begun to do this in your life or in the life of other believers? What does the cleansing look like in your life?
                      5. Read Rev. 21:6. Jesus makes several statements/phrases in this verse. List these statements. Which statement resonates with you the most and why?
                      6. Look at Rev. 21:27. Who is it that you need to invite to know Christ so their name will be written in the Lamb’s book of life? Name specific names and then pray for these people.

February 10, 2013
Series: “The End of the World As We Know It”
“Hell? Yes!”

Sermon Thought: The reality of hell and the certainty of judgment should fill Christ’s followers with compassion and urgency for the lost.

                      1. Life is filled with warnings, warning labels, etc. Think of some warnings that you view as non-essential. Now think of some warnings that are absolutely essential. What is the difference?
                      2. Warnings about hell fall into the “absolutely essential” category. Look at Rev. 20:15. Based on what you know about hell, what are the top three words you would use to describe it? What emotions or thoughts do these words raise?
                      3. Read Rev. 20:11-12. These verses emphasize that ALL will face judgment, whether “great or small.” Why is this fact important for you to remember? How do these verses communicate a message similar to Galatians 3:28?
                      4. Look at Isaiah 64:6, Eph. 2:8-9. These verses state that salvation cannot be earned. Do you ever struggle with believing you need to do something to earn your salvation, to avoid hell? Why is this such a common struggle?
                      5. Do you ever struggle with the idea that a loving God would allow people to experience hell and eternal punishment? Look at John 3:16-18. What does this passage say about God’s desire to judge people?
                      6. Read Rev. 19:9 and 20:15. Who does God want you to invite to trust him so their name will be written in the book of life? Name at least one person.

February 3, 2013
Mission Sunday
Psalm 67
“To Change the World”
Corey Jackson

Sermon Thought: God calls us to reflect his love to a watching world so he can rescue more souls.

                      1. Suppose a group of brand new believers reaches out to you and asks you to help them start a new church. If you agreed to this task, what would you tell them about the following: A) The tasks that a church is supposed to do. B) How to worship. C) What the result will be if the church is successful, how to measure success.
                      2. Look at Psalm 67:1-2, Romans 5:8. God was gracious to you and he blessed you when he sent Jesus as our Savior. What do you find most amazing about this gracious act? Any obvious effects that you see in your life today?
                      3. Look at Psalm 67:2. God wants his love to be known in every place (“on earth”) and in every people group (“all nations”). With what places or regions has God specifically burdened your heart? With which people/types of people has God specifically asked you to share his love?
                      4. How does the following statement agree with the message of Psalm 67? What part(s) of Psalm 67 does this statement reinforce? “We are called to trade in our self-centeredness for gospel-centeredness.”
                      5. When we take seriously God’s command to reach the world with his love, we are asked to reconsider and re-evaluate how we manage A) our money, B) our time, and C) our abilities/talents. Can you name one specific way that you are CURRENTLY using each of these to further Christ’s kingdom? Can you name something about each one of these that might need to change?
                      6. God has called you to be a part of his plan to show his love to the world, to share the gospel. Have you ever had a conversation with God where you said something like, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do,” or, “I’ll go wherever you want me to go.” If not, why not? If you have said this to God, what happened?

January 27, 2013
Series: The End of the World As We Know It
Revelation 19:6-10
“The Wedding Feast of All Wedding Feasts”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Christ invites his followers to worship him and celebrate with him forever because of the great victory he has won over sin.

                      1. Think about the “grandest” wedding celebration you have ever attended. What made it stand out? Why is a huge wedding celebration a helpful picture of Christ’s return?
                      2. Revelation 18 describes Christ’s complete victory over sin. Name at least one specific way that this victory affects your life this week, something that is different because Christ won this victory.
                      3. Read Rev. 19:1-3. The “prostitute/Babylon” represents the sinful system that Christ has defeated. Now read 19:7-8. The image of a spotless bride is contrasted with the image of a prostitute. How is a “prostitute” an accurate picture of sin, and how is a spotless bride an accurate picture of Christ’s Church?
                      4. Look at Rev. 19:8. Just like a bride prepares for a wedding, the Church prepares for Christ’s coming. V.8 says that this preparation is accomplished through righteous deeds. It is important to make sure that we are doing good deeds for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons–Name some wrong reasons/motivations for doing righteous deeds, and name some of the right reasons for doing righteous deeds.
                      5. Look at Rev. 19:9, and John 1:12. Have you received/accepted Christ’s invitation to eternal life? If you have, share briefly how it happened.
                      6. Read Rev. 19:1,3,6. The multitude worships God by crying “Hallelujah” because of what Jesus has accomplished. Is there a specific way that God wants you to worship Him this week because of what you have seen in this passage? This year?

January 20, 2013
Series: “The End of the World As We Know It”
“Two Days”
2 Cor. 5:9-10
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Knowing about the coming day of judgment and reward motivates us to live each day for Christ and his kingdom.

1. Compare Romans 8:1 and 2 Cor. 5:9-10. Because of their faith in Christ Jesus, Christians cannot be condemned. However, 2 Cor. 5:9-10 says that they will be evaluated. What kind of feeling does this coming evaluation produce in you and why? Anxiety? Longing? Something else?

2. Read 1 Cor. 3:11-15. How can you evaluate whether your actions will have lasting impact? How do you know if your efforts will be “lasting” vs. “temporary?”

3. Often we evaluate ourselves and others based on comparison or competition. God evaluates us based on what we do with what we have been given (“to whom much is given, much will be required”). What is dangerous about evaluating ourselves based on comparison?

4. God asks us to use our time, treasure, and talents to serve him. Which of these is the easiest for you to use? Which is the most difficult? Why?

5. Read Matt. 6:19-20. Seeking a reward seems like a selfish exercise. How can we seek heavenly reward without being selfish?

6. Name at least one specific way that you can “build up treasure in heaven” this week.


January 13, 2013
Series: The End of the World as We Know It
“Be Ready!”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: We are called to stay watchful and ready for Christ’s return.

1. Movie previews are designed to create a desire to see a new movie. Look at Rev. 21:3-4 as a preview of heaven. What is it about this preview that makes you long for Christ’s return? Why?

2. Look at Matt. 24:42-44. These verses emphasize that Jesus’ coming will be at an unknown time, calling us to be ready at all times. Name the top three things that distract you each day from the thought of Christ’s coming.

3. Look at Acts 1:6-8. Christ tells his disciples that they are to be active witnesses, not passive spectators as they wait for his return. Think through your daily activities. How can you use each activity to further Christ’s kingdom? Proclaim his love?

4. Look at Titus 2:11-14. Living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives is important as we wait for Christ’s return. How do we avoid “legalism” as we do this? How does this help us “prepare” for his coming? How does it help His kingdom advance?

5. Look at Hebrews 10:24-25. As we wait for the second coming of Christ, three instructions are mentioned. How does each one of these help prepare you for Christ’s return? a) Stir one another up to love and good deeds; b) Meet together regularly; c) Encourage one another more and more?

6. Look back at question #5. Of these three instructions, which one do you find the easiest? Which one do you find the most difficult? Why?


January 6, 2013
Matt. 9:14-15, other texts
Series: The End of the World as We Know It
Message: “Longing for the King’s Return”
Tim Kallam

Sermon Thought: Longing for Christ’s glorious return causes us to prioritize the way we spend our lives in the present.

1. Look at Rev. 22:20. John ends the book of Revelation by saying, “Come Lord Jesus.” What circumstances in your life right now cause you to love the idea of Christ’s return? What is it that makes you long for eternity with Him?

2. What circumstances in your life right now might cause you to want to postpone the idea of Christ’s return?

3. Read Philippians 3:20-21. These verses remind us that our permanent home and our permanent citizenship is in heaven. Name some practical ways that you can remind yourself that your citizenship is in heaven. Why do you think it is important to remember this?

4. How can you long for Christ’s return, and yet live joyfully on earth at the same time? Look at Phil. 4:11-13.

5. Look at Hebrews 10:24-25. As we wait for the second coming of Christ, three instructions are mentioned. How does each one of these help prepare you for Christ’s return? a) Stir one another up to love and good deeds; b) Meet together regularly; c) Encourage one another more and more.

6. Look back at question #5. Of these three instructions, which one do you find the easiest? Which do you find the most difficult? Why?

7. Read Titus 2:11-14. How are we to “look” or “prepare” for Christ’s return according to these verses?