Proverbs - The Good Friend, the Bad Friend, and the Best Friend

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. How has last week’s sermon on knowledge been resonating with you throughout this past week? Have you had any specific circumstances when the Lord allowed you to apply a truth from the sermon to your life?

  3. Why is it particularly challenging for us to go deeper than superficialities in conversation? 1

  4. What are some things Christians can do to experience true friendship in the context of the local church? What is one next step you will take to better cultivate friendships in your own life (see “24 Ways to Cultivate Friendships” for ideas)?

  5. Have you experienced disappointments in friendship that led you to become a bit more hard, more closed off, to the vulnerability of friendship? What is the danger to letting this hardness set?

  6. Our eternal home is a world of friendship, and it’s only for those who are reconciled to God in this life. How should this motivate Christians to share the gospel—the good news of reconciliation through justification because of substitution—with others?

  7. Think about what you know of Jesus’ character from the Bible. How does he embody the marks of true friendship? Which characteristic most stands out to you?

    1 Questions 3–7 are drawn from Drew Hunter, Made for Friendship: The Relationship That Halves Our Sorrows and Doubles Our Joys (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), pages 37, 138, 54, 138, 157, respectively.

2 Peter 1 - So Heavenly Minded, Much Earthly Good

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. How has last week’s sermon on money been resonating with you throughout this past week? Have you had any specific circumstances when the Lord allowed you to apply a truth from the sermon to your life?

  3. Consider the attributes that are to supplement our faith in 2 Peter 1:5-7. Which of these do you find most difficult to practice? What is a practical way you could focus on growing in that area this week?

  4. What does 2 Peter 1:13-15 say is the reason Peter is writing? While we aren’t writing down the Scriptures, we do have the responsibility to make sure they are taught to the next generation. What are some things you and/or our church body can do to make sure we’re being faithful in teaching the truths of Scripture to the next generation?

  5. Write down any additional questions or thoughts you may have from the sermon, and discuss them with your community group or family.

Proverbs - Money Matters

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. How has last week’s sermon on speech been resonating with you throughout this past week? Have you had any specific circumstances when the Lord allowed you to apply a truth from the sermon to your life?

  3. Are there areas of worry that you have in regards to finances? How does the reminder that God owns everything encourage you?

  4. What are some wise or unwise ways that you have earned money in the past. What are some wise or unwise ways that you have spent money in the past?

  5. If someone were to look at your spending habits, what might they say are some of the most important things to you?

  6. Do you know of anyone who seems to do a good job of glorifying God with the way they steward their money? What things do they do that are a good example to follow?

  7. What are some ways in which your money habits reflect a focus on temporary happiness and self-reliance? In what ways do your habits reflect a focus on eternal joy and dependence on God?

Proverbs - Taming the Tongue

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. Do you find it easier to honor God with your speech in conversations with Christians or with non-Christians? Who or what do your conversations tend to focus on in each of those situations (yourself, others, God, entertainment, etc.)?

  3. How have you seen the destructive power of the tongue impact your own life or the lives of others?

  4. When have you witnessed or experienced the power of words in building someone up?

  5. How do the words you use reveal what is in your heart?

  6. Read Ephesians 4:28-30. What criteria are given for speech? What are some ways in which a believer’s speech could grieve the Holy Spirit?

  7. When do you find it most difficult to control your tongue? What can you do to find victory over temptation in such situations?

Proverbs 31 - Wise Men and Women

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. Is your answer to the previous question something that might speak wisdom into someones life? Think of someone who you could encourage by telling them what God has been teaching you. (This might be your spouse, your child, a friend, a coworker, etc.)

  3. What is a word of wisdom that someone shared with you when you were little, and how has it helped you as an adult?

  4. Who has God put in your life to lead spiritually? What are some practical and intentional things you can do to encourage their walk with Christ?

  5. Are you aware of the poor and needy (spiritually or physically) around you? If not, what are some things you can do grow in this awareness. If you are aware, what can you do to be involved in their lives and share God’s love with them?

  6. What character qualities or attributes are portrayed in Proverbs 31:10-31. How can you encourage these qualities in others as we seek to build up the body of Christ?

Proverbs - Humility in a World of Selfies

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. What person in your life comes to mind when you think of someone walking with humility? How has he or she modeled humility well?

  3. Which situation in your life could be aided by your growth in humility?

  4. Thinking about humility often comes with thinking about the opposite: pride. How do you see pride manifested in your workplace, family, friendships, or even in the church body?

  5. Read through the following manifestations of pride - the opposite of humility. Which areas do you perhaps struggle with and need to address.

    • My practice of the spiritual disciplines is inconsistent and superficial.
    • I am often anxious about my life and the future.
    • I am very concerned with what people think about me.
    • I am self-critical and tend to be a perfectionist.
    • I want people to be impressed with me.
    • I am overly competitive.
    • I tend to feel envious or jealous when those around me are being honored.
    • I have a know-it-all attitude.
    • I have a hard time listening. I often interrupt.
    • When listening to a sermon or teacher, I listen with other people in mind instead of listening with my own heart in mind.

Matthew 28:16-20 - Jesus' Purpose and Plan for His Bride

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?

  3. Read Acts 4:1-20. How would you summarize Peter’s actions and proclamations? Describe a time when you couldn’t help speaking about what you’d seen and heard about Jesus?

  4. Is making disciples of all nations the primary goal for your life? What evidence supports your answer? What’s preventing you from giving more of your life to make disciples of all nations?

  5. Read Matthew 24:12-14. What promise did Jesus give in these verses? What warning did Jesus give? How does Revelation 7:9-10 provide a picture of what things will look like when Jesus’ promise comes to pass? How do these verses impact the mission and purpose of your life?

  6. As you seek to disciple others what practical direction does Titus 2:1-8 give you? Take one practical step to follow the command of Jesus this week to make disciples - perhaps it’s asking someone to read the Bible together or calling someone to ask how you can pray for them. Share your practical ideas with your community group and/or family.

  7. In what ways are you currently serving the local assembly here at GCC? In what other ways could you contribute as a disciple-maker at GCC? How does Romans 12:3-8 give us direction with regards to the varying gifts God has given among the church?

1 Samuel 3:1-4:1a - God Speaks

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?

  3. Does your normal disposition to God’s Word reflect Samuel’s response to God at the end of 3:10? If not, what hinders you from this response? Are there things in your life that could hinder your receptivity to God’s Word on Sunday mornings (regarding sleep, prayer, Saturday night activities, etc.)?

  4. Many people think of sin in the category of commission—doing what we ought not do. Yet Eli’s sin was one of omission—not doing what he ought to (3:13). As you think through your life, are there things that God has called you to do in His Word that you are not doing? (If you have trouble answering this question, you might ask a family member or friend to help you.) What does repentance look like in these areas?

  5. In 3:13 we see Eli’s sinful passivity in his role as a father. For parents, in what areas are you tempted to passivity regarding your children’s spiritual lives? How might others around you help you in these areas? For non-parents, how might you proactively serve the mothers and fathers in our congregation?

  6. The Bible teaches the awesome truths that 1) God is sovereign and 2) humans are responsible. At the end of 3:18, Eli displayed an over-emphasis on God’s sovereignty to the exclusion of his human responsibility. Of these two truths, which one are you most tempted to over-emphasize to the exclusion of the other? What are some ways that you might grow in living in light of both truths?

  7. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we would be have faith in God sustaining the witness of His Word, that we would fight spiritual passivity, that our parents would proactively disciple their children, and that we would rejoice in the glorious marriage of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

1 Peter 4:7-11 - How to Live When the End is Near

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?

  3. In light of 1 Pet 4:7, is there anything in your life right now that tempts you to live only for the moment, without any regard for eternity? If so, how does this happen, and what ought you to do in order to foster a more eternal mindset?

  4. What hinders people from showing hospitality without grumbling (1 Pet 4:9)? What hinders you? Who in the church or out of the church would you like to exercise hospitality towards this summer?

  5. Peter mentions in 4:11 stewarding the gifts God has given to us. Looking at Rom 12:6–8 and 1 Cor 12:8–10, 28, what is at least one spiritual gift you have? How ought you steward your spiritual gift(s) for the edification of others in our church?

  6. Which of the instructions in verse 8–11 do you find easiest to follow? What is one that you find more difficult?

  7. Share a time that another believer was a good example of these qualities. In what ways did their example glorify God?

  8. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we would be self-controlled and eagerly anticipating Christ’s return. Pray that our hospitality, service, and gracious speech would cause God to be glorified in our own life and by those around us.

Genesis 35:1-15 - Deal With Sin in Your Life

+ Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week?

  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?

  3. When God spoke to Jacob, he responded by putting away all of the foreign gods (idols) that were in his household.
    a. What are some culturally accepted “idols”? (ie. work, leisure...)
    b. How would a believer recognize idols in his own life?
    c. What are some idols that you could see your own heart being drawn towards? How can you guard against this?

  4. In verse 5 we see God’s protection over Jacob. When was a time in your life when you recognized God’s protection over you?

  5. In verses 9-15 God reiterates to Jacob (Israel) the promises He’d already spoken to him and to his father and grandfather. What is a lesson that God has had to remind you of at various times throughout your life?

  6. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we would rid ourselves of anything that acts as an idol in our lives and to ask God to protect us from anything that might hinder our spiritual journeys.

Genesis 32:22-32 - Brokenness is the Path to Blessing

Application Questions

  1. Since it’s our Community Group kick-off week, pick one (or two or three!) of the following questions to share with your group to get to know each other a bit better:
     
    1. What are you reading right now, outside the Bible? What is your opinion of it?
    2. Do you have any vacation plans this summer?
    3. How has God encouraged you recently in your life?
    4. What’s one of the biggest stressors in your life right now? 
      How has God shown His faithfulness to you?
       
  2. What have you been reading in your Bible recently? What has been meaningful from this?
     
  3. What was a main take-away from the sermon that you found particularly helpful/convicting/encouraging?
     
  4. Have you ever felt you have “wrestled with God,” perhaps with understanding a certain Biblical truth, or in your prayer life?  What happened? What was the outcome of this “wresting”?
     
  5. The Lord humbled Jacob by touching his hip and making him limp. Have you had a situation or season in your life where you sensed the Lord taught you about humility? Share how the Lord used this situation in your life.
     
  6. Jacob says in verse 30 of Genesis chapter 32, “I have come face to face with God.” In what situation in your life have you sensed the Lord revealed himself to you in a more distinct way? 

Genesis 28:10-22 - God Comforts us in Our Darkest Moments

Application Questions

 

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Read Psalm 119:50,52.  Think of a time when you were going through a dark or difficult time in your life. How did God’s Word point you to the comforting presence of the Lord? What Scripture passages have been particularly meaningful to you during those times?
     
  4. What “memorials” have you established in your life to remind you of God’s faithfulness? How do your “offerings” to God reflect your reverent awe of God’s work in your life? 
     
  5. Think of someone you know who may be going through a dark or difficult time. What is something you could do this week to offer them encouragement or comfort?
     
  6. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we would find our hope in the promises of God and draw near to Him in difficult times.

1 Samuel 2:12-36 - How Much Does Your God Weigh?

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Eli was cursed because he cared more about honoring his sons than honoring God (2:29). In the list of your life priorities, what are a few of the most important things to you? Do any of these things come close to rivaling God in the significance you give them in your life?
     
  4. Eli’s passivity towards his sons’ behavior and towards his temple responsibilities brought judgment from the Lord. What responsibilities has God given you? How can you guard against being passive in those areas?
     
  5. In 1 Samuel 2:30 God says to Eli, “...those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” How and where have you seen this verse true in your life on either side of the equation? (Keep in mind that the material blessings in the Old Testament are not extended in the same way into the New Testament.)
     
  6. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we would not be passive in our God-given responsibilities and that we would have a testimony of honoring the Lord and not showing contempt for His worship.

Genesis 26:1-16 - Cling to God's Promises in Perilous Times

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. In Genesis 26:1-6 Isaac faced the reality of starvation due to a famine in the land. Yet, God commanded Isaac to stay in the land and trust His promises. When have you faced desperate circumstances in your life and how has God used the promises in His Word to sustain you? 
     
  4. In Genesis 26:5 God used Isaac’s father’s obedience to God as an example of His commitment to God’s promises. In the New Testament what reveals our commitment to God and His Word? (See John 14:15; James 2:17)
     
  5. Isaac lied about his wife because he was afraid of what others would do to him. What are some other situations where a fear of others might tempt someone to lie? How does a proper fear of God help guard against such temptations? (See Galatians 1:10; Psalm 118:6)
     
  6. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we would fear God instead of fearing others, and that we would be faithful to trust God’s wisdom and timing in difficult situations instead of relying on our own wisdom or cleverness.

Genesis 25:19-34 - God’s Divine Reversal

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Read Genesis 25:21-22. When was a time when you asked God, “Why is this happening to me?” What was something God taught you in that situation?
     
  4. What does Genesis 25:23 tell you about God, His purposes, His attributes, and His character?
     
  5. What are some evidences that Esau is more concerned about worldly things than about spiritual things? (See Genesis 25:29-34) Are there areas in your life where this may be true of you?
     
  6. What are some practical steps you can take to guard against making rash or emotionally-driven decisions and to grow in godly wisdom? How can your community group and other believers help in this?
     
  7. Take time to pray for yourself and for others at GCC, that we’d be a people who value spiritual things above earthly things, that by our actions or words we would not despise God’s blessings in our lives, and that we would be careful to seek godly wisdom when making decisions instead of acting rashly. 

Genesis 22:1-19 - The Father Who Gave His Son

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Have you ever had a circumstance in which you felt like the Lord was asking you to sacrifice an “Isaac” in your life?
     
  4. In being willing to sacrifice his son, Abraham demonstrated a desire not to withhold even the things most dear to him. How does this idea of “not withholding” anything from God encourage and/or challenge you?
     
  5. Is there a certain situation in your life that is causing you to feel like you’re sacrificing for the Lord? How can your community group, your friends, your church help and encourage you in this situation?
     
  6. In what areas of your life can Abraham’s example of faith encourage you?
     
  7. Abraham could trust the Lord for the specific promise of an heir. What promises of the Lord can encourage you right now? What promises of the Lord could encourage someone in a season of difficult trial?

Genesis 17:1-14 - The Sign of God’s Work in Your Life

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 

  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Read Genesis 17:1-2. What command did God give Abram? What similar command are we given in 1 Peter 1:14-16? How does God describe Himself in each of those passages? How do those attributes about God give you assurance that His promises can be trusted?
     
  4. In Genesis 17 God gave circumcision as the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Today, God has given us baptism as the initiating sign of a person’s entrance into the New Covenant (Colossians 2:11-12). If you have been baptized, share your baptism story with others in your group. If not, then prayerfully consider what is keeping you from walking in obedience to Christ. (See Matthew 28:19-20)
     
  5. Read Deuteronomy 3:24. What are some of God’s mighty acts recorded in the Bible? What were some times that God showed himself to be mighty in your own life? 
     
  6. When was a situation when you had to wait for a long time for God to answer your prayer or provide according to His promises? What verses help you to trust in God and His timing?
     
  7. Take time to pray for each of the members in your community group by name, praying that God would grow their trust in His provision and timing, and then take time praising God for His power, faithfulness, goodness, and holiness.

Ephesians 6:10-24 - We Are At War!

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Read Ephesians 6:10-12. How do the truths of this passage affect the way you respond to sin your life, things that tempt you, trials you face, or conflict you may have with others? Is there a Scripture passage that you can think of that would be helpful for a particular “battle” in your life right now?
     
  4. Read 1 Peter 5:8. When you consider that our lives are part of a spiritual battle, and that the devil is seeking to devour you, are there any areas of your life that come to mind where you might have your guard down? What would it look like to strengthen your armor in those areas?
     
  5. What godly characteristics are mentioned in Ephesians 6:13-17 and should be evident in the life of a believer? Is there any characteristic that you have questions about. Which characteristic do you find is the easiest to identify in your own life? Which one is the most difficult?
     
  6. Having put on the armor, we are told in Ephesians 6:18-20 to pray at all times and to keep alert with all perseverance. Consider how much more vulnerable a soldier is (even in full armor) if they are not alert. What are some ways that “praying at all times” can help you stay alert against the devils’ attacks?
     
  7. Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesian believers by expressing his desire to encourage them. What is a practical way you could encourage another believer this week?

Ephesians 6:5-9 - God's Design for Work

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. Read Ephesians 6:5-9. What does this passage say your motivation for work should be? What things typically motivate your work? Does this passage strengthen or challenge those motivations?
     
  4. How can your specific work accomplish God’s purposes for others? Give examples for your family, church, company, coworkers, customers, etc.
     
  5. How do you respond to or exercise authority in your work? How do you exercise authority? How does working under God’s authority affect your attitude towards those over you or under you?
     
  6. Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Does the way you approach work reveal that your hope is in uncertain things? How does hoping in God and working to store up godly treasure allow you to work joyfully?
     
  7. Read Philippians 2:14-16. What are some ways you could apply the principles in this passage to your work? What impact might that have on the people you interact with while working?

1 Samuel 1 - The God of Our Asking

Application Questions

  1. What is something God has been teaching you through your Bible reading this week? 
     
  2. What is one truth or “take-away” from the sermon that you found particularly challenging/convicting/helpful?
     
  3. God is the one who is attributed as closing Hannah’s womb in 1 Sam 1:4–5, and yet, He did this in order to work His sovereign power in human weakness to accomplish His good purposes—for Hannah, and also for the rest of Israel (and ultimately to the world). How might this understanding that God uses human weakness and sorrow for His glorious purposes help a Christian in the midst of trials?
     
  4. What keeps you from pouring your heart out to God more in prayer? Would you be willing for God to do anything in your life in order to increase your neediness to come before Him in prayer? 
     
  5. Read 1 Samuel 1:12-18. How did the assumptions Eli made about Hannah’s actions reveal his own spiritual condition? Are there assumptions you’re quick to make about other believers? Do those assumptions reveal areas in your own life where spiritual growth is needed?
     
  6. God used someone who was weak in the world’s eyes to accomplish His purposes in bearing the prophet Samuel who would raise up king David (who foreshadowed the blessing of King Jesus). Where else in scripture has God worked in nearly impossible situations through weak people in order to accomplish His purposes? How does your own weakness qualify you for being used by God? (See 1 Cor 1:26–31)