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HOPE - LESSON 1 - HAVING AN ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVE

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think causes some to fall and others to rise up when they face overwhelming circumstances?

  2. How have the actions of other people brought discouragement to you? How do you look beyond the people or circumstances they cause to keep your focus upon God?

  3. While the world was about to experience a severe famine, Joseph was devising a plan to deal with it because of his enlightened perspective, which provided hope for countless numbers of people. How does our knowledge of the future put us in the same position as Joseph?

  4. After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were consumed with worry about how Joseph might pay them back for what they did to him, yet Joseph was focused on something larger. How does an enlightened perspective change worry or even vengeance into praise of God?

  5. When life bumps you around, what spills out of you? What can you do to be filled with hope, peace and joy instead of anger, anxiety and cynicism?

HOPE - LESSON 2 - TURNING BITTER TO SWEET

Discussion Questions:

  1. Are there times when it feels as though God is against you?  How do you feel about Naomi referring to herself as “bitter”?

  2. Who do you have in your life who helps you see past the junk in this world to the promises and provision of God?  Have you expressed the value they have to you recently?

  3. What kind of hope do you have for the LORD’s help as you face difficulties, seeing how God’s ways provided for Ruth and Naomi’s needs long before their situations occurred?

  4. Tell of a time when God has taken a bitter experience of yours and turned it into something sweet.

  5. How does hope help you keep things together when it feels like the challenges will make you fall apart and make a big mess of life?

HOPE - LESSON 3 - YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Discussion Questions:

  1. What caused Elijah to run out of the Promised Land, away from his ministry, and to ask God to take his life?  How can we avoid this kind of discouragement?

  2. How has the devil tricked you into thinking you are alone when you face crises?  Why is he successful at making us feel this way, even when evidence shows this is not the case?

  3. How can we do a better job of recognizing the Obadiah stories instead of letting the Jezebel threats cause us to lose hope?

  4. How much of our loss of hope is due to a loss of the word of God? How much emphasis do you place on the word of God in your daily choices and situations?

  5. Elijah was offered hope by some really strange sources.  Tell of a strange way the LORD has brought hope into your life—something you never saw coming.

HOPE - LESSON 4 - FACING MY BATTLES WITH A SONG IN MY HEART

Discussion Questions:

  1. Would you say your prayers are more circumstances-centered; or God’s promises-centered?  How do your prayers reflect your confidence in God?

  2. If the battle really belongs to the LORD, how often do we get in His way, trying to make it our battle?  How does this work out for you, typically?

  3. What role has worship played in your everyday battles and challenges?  Give an example of how you have seen worship bring about courage and trust when things seem overwhelming?

  4. Why is it so difficult to “stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf”? (II Chron. 20:17)

  5. What does it reveal about us if our prayers are about getting what we want rather than seeking God Himself?

HOPE - LESSON 5 - WHEN IT FEELS TOO LATE

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does perspective have to do with finding hope in the midst of the struggles we face? What can we do to be constantly reminded to look beyond the small picture to a larger context in the LORD?

  2. Why would God tolerate the evil reign of Manasseh for 55 years (A longer reign than any other king)? Have you asked yourself in the midst of some trial or bad situation, “Where is God? Why doesn’t He do something?” What does silence like this mean?

  3. What role do you see humility playing in Manasseh’s new-found hope in the LORD? How has a struggle with humility brought about a struggle to have hope in your own life?

  4. If you were Isaiah’s widow, would you consider Manasseh being forgiven and restored by God fair? How do we find hope in the circumstances that seem so unfair?

  5. How does our repentance, God’s forgiveness, and still having to face the consequence of sin fit together?

HOPE - LESSON 6 - WHEN EVERYTHING SEEMS TO STAND IN THE WAY

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the priority level of Nehemiah and what he is willing to give up in order to provide care for Jerusalem compare to what God wants from us in our service to His church?

  2. Describe the preparation Nehemiah went through to accomplish the work of the LORD in Nehemiah 1-2. How well do you prepare for the opportunities God presents to you?

  3. What kind of opposition do you face in doing something bold for God’s Kingdom? How does opposition affect your perseverance to see the good work accomplished?

  4. How did Nehemiah’s hope become hope in the lives of others?

  5. How amazing is the task of building the walls around Jerusalem in 52 days? What kinds of dreams do you have for things the LORD could do with you and the church family at Garden Ridge?

HOPE - LESSON 7 - SEEING BEYOND THE CIRCUMSTANCES

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why are we drawn so often to focus on the dot instead of a larger picture? How does hope help you see more than your immediate circumstances?

  2. What is the advantage to being a slave to Jesus?

  3. How difficult do you find it to have a heart of praise and worship when you are facing an extreme trial?

  4. In Acts 16 we see people enslaved by spiritual warfare, prejudice, a bad job situation, and persecution for doing good, however, each one is set free through hope in Jesus. What kinds of things have you felt enslaved by and how does Jesus offer you hope and freedom?

  5. How have you seen “belief in the LORD Jesus” bring order to chaos; healing to the broken; hope to the hopeless; transformation to what needs changing; and freedom to the enslaved?

HOPE - Lesson 8 -The Path of Agony

Discussion Questions:

  1. What kinds of rocks have been added to your backpack? How have they weighed you down?

  2. How do things like “agony”, “martyr”, “exhaustion to the point of collapse” and “joy” fit together?

  3. What does it say to you that almost every book of the New Testament makes reference to the fact that as followers of Jesus we will face suffering?

  4. How has suffering brought endurance and other good things to your life?

  5. What can people in your Connect Group or church family do to help you better “fix your eyes upon Jesus” and “consider Him” so that you remember the reasons for hope and joy even as you possibly face “agony”, “exhaustion to the point of collapse” and “martyrdom”?

 
What a Gift! - Lesson 1 - More Than Meets the Eye

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you believe that every event under heaven has an appointed time? What does this mean in light of the struggles you encounter?

  2. What do you learn about the depth of God’s love when you see in the opening of Isaiah’s song of prophecy that God’s suffering servant is going to provide cleansing and salvation for the very ones who beat Him and dehumanized Him?

  3. How does Barabbas (a murderer) being released and forgiven his crimes, while Jesus (the sinless Son of God) enduring trials, beatings and crucifixion tell the story of what God has done in your life?

  4. The first statement of Isaiah’s song is SUCCESS! How does this encourage you as you face the ugliness and brokenness of this fallen world?

  5. How have you seen God bring victory to your life in backwards ways? Share an example.

What A Gift! - Lesson 2 - A Gift Unappreciated

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways have you wrestled with rebellion because of your flesh? When will this battle end?

  2. How has God revealed Himself as a tender shoot in your life? Why does He often choose humble, unassuming means to reveal Himself instead of through power and grandeur?

  3. Why do we have times when we believe that God doesn’t understand us or the situation we are facing? How does this move us to alter His commands and/or plans for us?

  4. How does seeing the “arm of God” help you go against the flow so you do not reject God’s plans or rebel against Him?

  5. How have appearances fooled us? Why do we put so much stock in the appearance of things?

What A Gift! - Lesson 3

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Rembrandt paint himself into his depiction of Jesus being raised on the cross? How does Rembrandt’s inclusion in this scene aptly represent our own place in why there is suffering and injustice in this world?

  2. When did you discover that the price of sin is typically far more than it presents itself to be? How have you seen sin bring about collateral damage?

  3. When you consider how powerful sin is (the one thing in the universe that could bring God to death), how does that help you understand the spiritual battle you are facing?

  4. When you hear someone say, “Where is God in the midst of suffering?” or, “If God is good, why does He tolerate the suffering in this world?” how does the message from Isaiah 53:4-6 help you have an answer to these questions?

  5. How does God use the suffering of Jesus to fulfill His nature of justice and nature of love so that mankind can be restored to Him? If suffering can have a positive affect like this with Jesus, does it have the same power to bring good into our own lives?

What A Gift! - Lesson 4 - A Gift Bigger Than The Moment

Discussion Questions:

  1. What should we expect living in a world in which everything leads to death? How does this make what God offers in Jesus essential?

  2. How can we develop more of the attitude Jesus portrays as He faces disrespect, mistreatment and ultimately death without protest, complaining, defense or even demands? What enabled Him to face what He faced without opening His mouth?

  3. There were many of God’s leaders who were not silent as they faced pain and injustice (Jeremiah, David, Job, Habakkuk, etc.) What makes their cries and Jesus’ silence both right responses before God?

  4. What roles do the promises and plans of God play in Jesus’ ability to face death without a word against His accusers? How should God’s promises and plans affect us?

  5. Stanza four of the Servant Song in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 ends with Jesus in the grave. What would it mean if this were the end of the song?

What A Gift!--Lesson 5--A Gift of Victory

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What kind of struggles have you had with knowing Jesus and understanding what He has done to restore us to God?

  2. Why does Jesus give thanks to His Father that He has hidden things from the wise and intelligent, but revealed them to infants? How difficult is it for God to change you?

  3. In what ways is the cross of Jesus a stumbling block and foolishness?

  4. How has a study of the Servant Song in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 helped you to grow closer to God?

  5. Based on the elements of the Servant Song in Isaiah 52-53, what is involved in being the body of Jesus? How should it look for this Song to be lived out in our daily lives?

 

Peace, Be Still! - Stand Alone Sermon

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why would Jesus intentionally send the apostles into a storm where they would be in danger facing elements way beyond their control?  Should we expect Jesus to do the same with us?

  2. Have you ever experienced a complete calming of a storm in your life?

  3. How have storms been used to build or strengthen faith in you?  How have you seen evil used to bring about God’s will?

  4. In the message 3 reasons to have faith were emphasized: (1) Jesus gives the direction; (2) Jesus is with us; and (3) Jesus is at peace and in complete control.  How can you put these 3 things into practice in your schedule tomorrow and throughout this next week?

  5. What does a future where there is no sea do for your faith?

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Lewisville, Texas 75067

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