Small groups are at the center of what we do at Bethany. We know that getting connected with other people in a small group community might be one of the most important parts of feeling like Bethany Church is your church home. We want to help make it an easy process for you to find the right Grow Group. 
 
Each week, we get together and dive deeper into the sermon and God’s Word using these questions as a guide. Check out the questions below, organized by each week.
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Grow Group Questions • In Him • Colossians 1:15-19

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Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. If I were to interview your family and friends would they say that you are more of a negative Nancy, a positive Peter, a complaining Carl, or an encouraging Joe? Are you more victim or victor, according to your speech and actions? What does the answer to this question communicate about Christ and our relationship to Him?

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read Col 1:15-19. Attempt to memorize these verses (or at least this reference) during this series as this is one of two major Christological verses in the New Testament.
  2. Why is it a big deal that Jesus manifested God to us? 
    1. What are the advantages of knowing God this way as opposed to if Jesus had not come? 
    2. What changes, if any, are needed in your life to manifest God well to others? How can we help you and hold you accountable to this?
  3. Read Col 1:17 and Luke 12:7. Pastor Thad said on Sunday that as sovereignly preeminent as Jesus is, He is equally personally intimate. How do you think this statement impacts you? Do you think of your relationship with Jesus as being intimate? Why or why not? 
  4. Read Col 1:15-19. How could you use these verses to show someone else that Jesus is divine? Why is that important?

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read Col 1:17 and Romans 8:28. Pastor Thad communicated that “for Him” can be translated “unto Him”. This ultimately means that everything will result in praise to Jesus. How does this affect how we view the material and spiritual world? 
    1. Right or wrong, do you tend to think of yourself as the “lead actor in your life’s play”?  Why or why not? 
    2. How does this affect how we view the positive and negative events in your life? Or the positive and negative events in history?
  2. Read Col 1:18 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. Why is Christ’s being the firstborn resurrected from the dead important to the church?
    1. How do you defend the resurrection? Can you give 2 arguments to defend Christ’s resurrection?
  • Eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrected body
  • Opponents never produced body nor disagreed that tomb wasn’t empty
  • The change of the apostle’s demeanor from afraid to fearless
  • The apostle Paul and James witness to the resurrected Christ as they were not of faith before this.

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. Given the truth of this passage and the challenge to find your encouragement in Jesus, what is one way that you can be an encouragement this week to another? 
    1. Do you think there is a way that you are trapped in thinking of yourself as a victim when you should be thinking of yourself as a victor? What is that and why?
    2. What is one way that you can live and think as a victor rather than a victim this week? What do you need to do to be prepared for this mindset shift this week?
  2. Prayer: To be encouraged “in Him” (Christ) and to encourage others as I have the truth of Christ.

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Grow Group Questions • Hall of Fame Verses • Romans 8:28-30 Pt. 2

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Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. Option 1: Did anyone happen to have a chance this week to comfort another going through a hard time? If you did, how did you do this and how might God use you to bless their life further? How did you feel as you had the blessing of helping them?
  2. Option 2: This series was chosen in order that the pastors might, regarding Hall of Fame verses Romans 8:28-30, 1) encourage us, 2) protect us from using the verses out of context and 3) preparing us for future learning so as not to be divisive but rather inquisitive and in a continual state of learning (growing deeper roots, changing your mind, learning more and being amazed by God). Which one of these reasons (1, 2, or 3) have impacted you the most in regards to these verses or this series and why?

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read Romans 8:28-39 (maybe even read two versions that change the subject or acting agent like the NIV and the ESV)
  1. Pastor Thad commented that those” who can claim the promise of Romans 8:28 are those” that love God and are called according to His promise. He also commented that loving others is a way to love God as we are all in some sense, His children. Did you like the example pastor Thad used regarding others caring for his kids and how that relates to loving God? Have you ever had that experience as a parent? How are you living out loving others in tangible ways? Share with the group.

    Bonus: Are you familiar with or want more information about our Mercy Justice ministry at Bethany or would you be interested in joining an Engage think tank” group (a planning group of people who will help us brainstorm & implement ways to engage our community in the future)? If you are interested, please email info@bethanyefc.org
  1. Pastor Thad communicated that the purpose of God communicated with the text under study was to be conformed to Christ so that Christ might be the firstborn from the dead. What does it mean to be conformed to Christ? How do you work on being conformed to Christ? 
    1. What areas of your life are the most difficult to conform to Christs standard? How are you gaining victory? 
    2. Where are you losing ground? How can we help and or pray for you in this area?
  2. Below is a brief list (taken from John Piper) of how Christ is glorified in our conforming to Him and how this relates to Him being the firstborn among many brothers.
    Which one of these is the most encouraging to you and why? Which one of these is the most challenging?
  • God appointed us to share the greatness of the Son so that the Son might be exalted as the greatest among the great.
  • God destined us to share Christ’s glory in order that the glory of the Son might be magnified in the countless mirrors of those who are conformed to his image.
  • God created a second-born and a third-born and a millionth-born so that Christ might be exalted and praised and honored in the midst of a redeemed people.
  1. Read Romans 8:18. Our text today reads the present and the future as past tense in many ways. In most commentatorsminds, this probably means that Paul is writing this way to communicate the certainty of our heavenly transformation. This is a wonderful blessing of being guaranteed a heavenly home and future. Some have said, in regards to this truth, that people can be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. However, a larger number of the most impactful Christians that we know of were very heavenly minded. How does Romans 8:18 allow us to live this life with joy, regardless of the circumstance, and how does it cause us to reflect on eternal life? 
    1. What difference does this verse make to your life and how you spend it?
    2. Do you think its possible to be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good? Why or why not? Do you see any biblical examples of this?

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read and React. How does this quote from J. I. Packer impact you and how does it gel” with your thoughts on evangelism? 

    So far from making evangelism pointless, the sovereignty of God in grace is the one thing that prevents evangelism from being pointless. For it creates the possibility – indeed, the certainty – that evangelism will be fruitful.
    J.I. Packer
  1. Read Romans 8:29-30. This section of scripture has a lot of powerful words that build on each other to create a greater concept. But, there are also many that we dont use in regular everyday language. Are there any words or concepts in this section that you find to be confusing? 
    1. Take some time as a group to break down and define some of the words in this section (Blue Letter Bible is a great resource to do this) and talk about what that means for us today. Which word has the most impact on you? Why?
    2. If an unbeliever asked you to explain this section of scripture, what would you say?
  2. Romans 8:28-30 has many tensions around Gods foreknowledge, and how this relates to our salvation. Some of the common ways to explain Gods foreknowledge are Calvinism, Arminianism, and Molinism. Are you familiar with these ways of thinking of Gods foreknowledge? Do you think that you agree with one of these ideas more than another? Why? In two minutes or less can you give your core thoughts with two verses related to the matter.

    (Leaders, please ask your group members to take 15-20 minutes to search out these 3 viewpoints before your group meets, and bring in their conclusions to the group)
    1. How does this impact your view of God?
    2. How does this impact your view of man?
    3. How does this impact your evangelism? Does it motivate you to share the gospel with others? Why or why not? 
    4. Do you think it matters how we think of Gods foreknowledge? Why or why not?
  3. Bonus/optional, use with care: God calls us to pray for people in many ways and to pray for believers to go out into the harvest. However, does God ever specifically direct us to pray for the lost? What does that mean for us? 

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. In this series, we have learned that we need to apply the practices of loving others, which would include comforting them and sharing faith with the confidence that we will see some saved. This goes along with the idea of investing in the lives of others so that you can invite them to church and/or to the Lord Jesus. 
  • Pray for the opportunity to love others and share your faith this week. If you have someone to share with in mind, give the group their first name so that we all can pray for them this week and perhaps put their names on our prayer lists.
  • Pray also that you would share your faith at least once in the next month. If you are able to share your faith, please tell your leader so that the entire group can be encouraged.

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Grow Group Questions • Hall of Fame Verses • Romans 8:28-30

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Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. As we begin this All-Star verse series, what are some of your All-Star verses and why? How have these helped you? (Group leaders, share one of your verses first to give the group time to think through their answers).

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read Romans 8:28-30. Attempt to memorize at least part of these verses, if not all of them over the next two weeks. After all, it is a Hall-of-fame verse!
  2. Pastor Thad used the illustration of a skyscraper and how these tall buildings need deep bases for support and compared this to the high promises of God and how we need to have a deep base of knowledge regarding theological truths about God so that His promises ring true in our lives. Do find truth in this contention? 
  3. Which attribute of God appeals to you most and why? How does this impact your life? Is there story you can share that illustrates this? Which attributes causes you to pause? Why is this important? Attributes of God (partial list to generate conversation): Holy-Perfect-Good. All-knowing. All-loving. All-powerful. All-wise. Infinite. Immutable (never changes). Self-Sufficient (has no needs). God is everywhere. God is truth.
  4. Pastor Thad pointed out the variant translations of Romans 8:28 in different texts and why he preferred one over the other. Read a few different translations as a group, starting with ESV, NIV, and The Message. What do you like or dislike about each one?
    1. Do you think it’s important to be aware of some of these decisions by translators and how we internalize the meaning of these verses?
    2. Does this make you want to read multiple translations during your Bible study time?
  5. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Pastor Thad spent time in his exposition speaking about the difference between “knowing” in head knowledge vs. “knowing” something through experience. How does this relate to your knowledge or experiences with Christ and the impact you can have sharing your testimony?
    1. How does this relate to your ability to comfort someone going through a challenge or struggle?
    2. Do you have a story you can share in how you have helped others through your experiences? Or a time you were helped through someone else’s experiences?

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Pastor Thad listed several ways that negative experiences can have good repercussions in our lives. In thinking about your life, can you give an example of how bad things brought about a positive in your life or illuminated some truth for you? Here are some categories to help you think through this question. How has suffering or challenges or negative experiences:
    1. Refined your faith walk (or showed you a short-coming)
    2. Drove you to God (Like Jesus in the garden)
    3. Gave you a thirst for the eternal and future grace
  2. Consider the following quotes and discuss how they impact your life, and read the following questions.

    “That which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God. Our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.”
    ― Jerry Bridges, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts

    When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.”
    – Spurgeon

    1. Do you find the sovereignty of God to be a comfort? Do you find comfort in God’s purposes for your suffering? Why or why not?
    2. Have you been through trials in the past that have caused you to question God’s plan or God’s love for you? Have those feelings been resolved? Why or why not?

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. Are you going through any trials or suffering right now? How can the group pray for and support you? (Leaders: consider splitting into gendered groups for prayer time to discuss this)
  1. What is one key thought or take away that you need to remember from this week’s sermon or group time? (For example, my experiences can help others so I need to remember to share or I need to, at least on occasion, use different translations [or understand the rationale behind the different translations] to get a fuller orbed understanding of certain texts in my Bible study or I need to think through how I feel about negative experiences or challenges and how they relate to God’s goodness so that I am prepared to face them as they come into my life, or to help someone else)
  2. Prayer: To walk with Jesus intimately over the long haul so that like Paul, we can say “we know” in regards to working all things out to the good.

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Grow Group Questions • December 27 & January 3 • Keep2

December 27 

1. Warm up. Why do we like stories of Perseverance so much? What is your favorite story of Perseverance? (either fiction or non-fiction.)

2. What is the difference in Jude between “The Faith” and “Our Faith?” Also why is perseverance necessary for our faith?

3. Parker mentioned 8 threats to our faith. They were: 

  • Difficulties, 
  • Pleasures, 
  • Cultural pressure, 
  • Your sin nature/pride, 
  • Persecution, 
  • Time (Apathy), 
  • False ideologies outside the church, 
  • False teachers inside the church. 

It is easy to look deep into our past and recognize these, but which one of these 8 have had the greatest impact on you this past week?

4. Where does the power in our perseverance come from? 

5. How can the group help you to persevere in those places where you struggle?

 

Questions:  January 3.

1. Why did we call this mini-series Keep^2?

2. Read through Jude together. Try and as a group summarize the letter.

3. What verse or idea in this book speaks to you most right now? Why.

4. How does our keeping the faith work together with God keeping us?

5. How do we hold on to the faith, while at the same time rest, knowing that God’s strong hands are keeping us?


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Grow Group Questions • Citizen Exile • Daniel 2

Leaders, make sure you read the email from Pastor David this week to help guide your discussion time!

Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. As we are nearing the end of the year (and some groups may be pausing soon) use this time for people to consider and share at least one of their potential new year’s resolutions. Also, ask them if you want the group to keep them accountable (this answer does not need to be spiritual).
  2. As we are nearing the end of the year (and some groups may be pausing soon) ask your group to share some of their worst new year’s resolution failures (just have fun with it).

Series Review (15-20 minutes)

  1. In relation to the first question and moments of impact during this series, Pastor Thad reviewed many of the key concepts covered in this series of messages (bullet-pointed below). 
    Daniel was a man of:
    Character 
    (Daniel’s private life matched and fed his public life. A key point is that our private life impacts our public life and public effectiveness for God. cf. Daniel 1)
    Dependability Daniel was a man people could count on (cf. Daniel 5 and the queen telling King Belshazzar to call on him)
    Prayer (cf. Daniel 6 and 2)
    Strong Faith (cf. Daniel 6; Lion’s den)
    Man who revealed God to his community
    1. What in this series created a “ah ha” moment for you or created a unique challenge or pushed your forward in your Christian walk?  
    2. Are you developing any new practices or habits that you can share?
  2. Parker Rabe “kicked off” the Citizen Exile series or “set the stage” for the series from the book of Jeremiah. Read Jeremiah 29:4-7: How does this passage surprise us in what Jeremiah is in essence calls us all to do for our community and country? 
    1. Read Mark 12:31; Luke 10:25-37; 1 Timothy 2:2. How does Jeremiah 29:11 resonate with how Jesus calls us to live now? 
    2. Have you had to reconsider how you think about your relationship with the world? Share if you have and what life changes you are making to live as a citizen exile, positively impacting the world.
  3. In our “Citizen Exile” series taking us through the story of Daniel, there were so many moments of potential impact on our lives. One of these moments, from the feedback that we have heard, centered around prayer and fasting. For those of you that took part in Bethany’s prayer and fasting week, can you share with the group your experience? 
    1. What was challenging, what was wonderful, what would you do differently next time, what will you do the same, what might you like to try in regards to prayer and fasting?

Sermon Review & Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read Daniel Chapter 2 to review the main story from this week’s message.
    Read Matthew 22: 15-22. In this passage, Jesus tells the people to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to give to God the things that are God’s (in an answer about taxation). How does this relate to or is instructive towards being a Citizen Exile? What is Jesus really trying to communicate here?
  2. Pastor Thad, in his message, spoke about the prophecies of Daniel and where he felt like we as a community of faith were within them. He also communicated that just as those prophecies were fulfilled in the past, we can be sure that all of Daniel’s prophecies will be fulfilled in the future. How does that impact your expectations of the future and how does this impact your role as a Citizen Exile or even your view of the Bible? (It should be noted, however, that when Daniel gave the prophecies, he knew what was going to happen (as predicted in Daniel 2 and 7), but did not know all the details regarding the who or even the exact when with the details.) 
  3. Of course, we know in hindsight now who almost all of those kingdoms referred to were up to the present time. With this understanding and looking towards the future fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies, what caution should we take in assigning potential Scriptural fulfillments of those prophecies with absolute certainty? 
  4. (Optional) Do you like prophecy conferences or teachings? What value do they have or what is their greatest value, in your opinion?

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. The pastoral staff is thinking of challenging themselves and perhaps recommending that the entire church commits to fasting and praying the first Monday of every month as they are reasonably able. Is that something you might consider adding as a part of your spiritual disciplines? If so, please pray about this.
  2. Pastor Thad said in the podcast that he feels that this series is a “marker” for our church in his short time of being here. In what way do you think this series might have set a tone for where God is taking us as a church as we enter the new year?

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Grow Group Questions • Citizen Exile • Daniel 10

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Grow Group Leaders: Remember you do not need to do every question. Feel free to adjust on what works with your group best. However, please give a focus to the Digging Deeper section, feel free to start there too if time is a restraint, and allow time for the final Challenge and Prayer Time.

Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. Before talking about fasting, let’s ask a food question. What is your favorite food that you would never want to have to give up permanently? (Dessert, main course, snack, appetizer… anything)

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. Before you get started, please take a few minutes to read through all of Daniel Chapter 10. Look for key things that stand out to you as you get ready for discussion.
  2. Looking at the last 3 messages on Daniel and prayer: What stands out to you the most about Daniel’s prayer life, how he prayed, what he prayed for, what was a part of his prayer times?
  3. Since Fasting was a consistent theme for Daniel in both chapter 9 and 10, let’s define fasting and make sure we are on the same page. Pastor David gave us an Old and New Testament Definition of fasting. They were: NT) to abstain from food and/or drink (or customary nourishment) for a religious or faith-based purpose. OT) The image of one shutting their mouth or closing their mouth, thus keeping food from entering it for self-denial of physical needs, most commonly food.  What stands out to you about these definitions? What does it tell you about any themes of Biblical fasting?
    1. Is there anything new or challenging in these definitions that is different from what you might have through before?

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Go back and read Matthew 6:5-8, and 16-18. What type of parallels do you see to how Jesus talked about praying and how he talked about fasting?
    1. Why do you think we quickly embrace prayer as an expected part of our Christians lives but struggle more with seeing fasting that same way?
  2. Pastor David compared prayer to a Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Fasting and prayer to a Peanut Butter and jelly sandwich. Was that helpful for understanding the role of Prayer and fasting? Why or why not? 
    1. How do you see fasting as a partner to prayer? (Any person examples or stories)
  3. Pastor David gave us three primary Biblical reasons to fast which are listed below. How do you see each of these partnering with your own personal prayer life. Look up the scriptures that go with each. How do these scriptures help us understand these reasons for fasting?
    1. Repentance/Mourning Over Sin. Daniel 9:3-5 / Daniel 10:2-3 / Joel 2:12
    2. To Hear From God/Ask God to Do Something. Daniel 9:3, 16-19 / Daniel 10:2-3, 12  / Acts 13:2-3
    3. For Spiritual Warfare Daniel 10:2-3, 12-14 / Isaiah 58:6 / Matthew 4:1-3

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. Pastor David closed in calling Bethany Church participate in the all Church week of fasting and prayer. You should have received an email about it with more information and some helpful tools directions for fasting. As a closing challenge:
    1. First please discuss as a group if you would be willing to, as a group, commit to join in on this week prayer and fasting. (If some are hesitant please refer to the Fasting Guide in the email to help see how each person can do it differently).
    2. Talk about how to encourage each other during the week to stay committed. 
  2. For the closing prayer time, please pray for God’s help to stay committed to fasting and praying this week, each day. Ask God to show up in our prayer and fasting times. 

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Grow Group Questions • Citizen Exile • Daniel 9

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Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)
(use one or both; your preference)

  1. Option 1: In life, we have to have discipline. Discipline in regards to our weight management, our budget, even our sleep schedule. How are you performing in these areas? How does your discipline in these areas compare to your discipline of prayer and time in God’s Word?
  2. Option 2: How did it go last week with your challenge to pray 3 times a day and journal? What insight did you glean about God, yourself, or the practice of prayer?

 

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read or paraphrase Daniel Chapter 9. How would you describe Daniel’s relationship with God as expressed in this prayer in Daniel 9? Why?
    1. How does this relationship compare to yours – how is it similar, how is it different?
    2. What role does prayer seem to play in Daniel’s relationship with God?
    3. What role does prayer currently play in your relationship with God?
  2. Pastor Thad commented early in his sermon about how blown away he is at the truths about God in regards to prayer and mankind. Which concept regarding prayer most blows your mind, and why? Which one gives you the most peace?
  • We have a God who hears our prayers
  • We have a God who prays for us
  • We have a God who answers our prayers
  • We have a God who answers our prayers according to His will
  • Bonus: We have a God who is patient with us in our misguided prayers and our lack of prayer.

 

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read Daniel 9:3 and James 5:17. Based on what these scriptures say about prayer, how do you think you are doing in your prayer life currently? Rate on a scale of 1 to 5. Why did you rate yourself that way? What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to prayer?
  2. In the sermon, pastor Thad talked about praying for others and the community of faith-oriented nature of prayer. Have you ever told someone you would pray for them and didn’t? How does it impact you when someone says that they are praying for you? What do your answers tell you about yourself and your real value regarding prayer or theological understanding of prayer?
  3. Read Romans 8:26-27 and Hebrews 7:25. How does it impact you to know that God is praying for you or will pray on your behalf? Have you ever asked God to pray for you because you aren’t sure what to pray for in regards to a confusing situation? How did that impact you? 
  4. Read Daniel 9:2; John 15:7. These texts communicate to believers that there is great precedence to pray according to God’s Word, which is demonstrated by how many other biblical references there are in Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9. Why do you think praying according to God’s word would be a helpful practice? Have you ever heard of this practice? If so, how often do you pray God’s Word, and would you be willing to try this if you are not praying God’s Word often? What, if any, are the challenges to praying God’s Word?

 

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. Below is a brief list of prayers or Scriptures that can be utilized to pray. Pick some from the list, or others you know, and as a group take time to pray over the rest of group. Please use any verses you normally use also, if you choose to do so. Take a few minutes to read the scripture and meditate on it individually before starting the prayer time. 
  • Galatians 5: 16-21 (resisting evil) 
  • Ephesians 3: 16-20 (be strengthened, established, confident in the love of Christ). 
  • Philippians 1: 9-11 (knowledge, discernment, filled with the fruit of righteousness). 
  • Colossians 1: 9-14 (wisdom, growth, joyfully giving thanks, redemption). 
  • I Thessalonians 3:12-13 (love increase, heart strengthened, blameless). 
  • II Thessalonians 1:11-12 (worthy of God’s calling, fulfill every good purpose). 
  • I Timothy 1:12 (strength, faithful, service). 
  • I Peter 5:6-11 (humility, anxiety, self-control, resist the devil, restore). 
  • II Peter 1: 5-8 (list of things to add to our faith). 
  • Jude 1:20-25 (pray, God’s love, mercy, faultless).
  1. Write down the principles shared by pastor Thad this week. Utilize these principles in your prayer times.
  • In response and in accordance to God’s will
  • Fervency and at times with symbolic sacrifice
  • Confession (God’s greatness; our weakness; humbleness)
  • With an appeal to God’s glory
  • Personally, and Corporately

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Grow Group Questions • Citizen Exile • Daniel 6

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Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

(Use as Needed or Dive Right Into The Sermon Based Questions)

  1. Option 1: When the king called out to Daniel as he had spent all night with the lions, the tension must have been thick in the air as everyone waited in suspense. What, in your opinion, is the greatest cliffhanger moment in movie history? (for example, some say that the greatest cliffhanger moment was when Darth Vader told Luke that he was his father and everyone had to wait until the next movie to know for sure)
  2. Option 2: Read Rom 15:4. The Old Testament, among many other reasons, was written so as to be an instruction and encouragement to us in the New Testament. Other than Daniel, what Old Testament character has really been developmental in your faith or as an encouragement and why? How have you allowed that to impact your life positively?

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

(Remember: you don’t have to use all of the questions, use as many as you need and allow the Spirit to lead your time together but please make sure you allow at least 15 mins at end for the prayer call in the last section.)

  1. Please take time to read all of Daniel Chapter 6 as a group before getting into the discussion questions.
  2. Pastor Thad talked about the symbolism of having a kneeler being the first piece of furniture in his house and about burning a candle as he has his quiet time with God. Do you have any symbolic practices? If so, what are they and how do they help you personally?
  3. Read Daniel 6:10 and 1 Thess. 5:16-18. Daniel 6:10 shows that Daniel prayed 3 times a day and the New Testament (1 Thess. 5:16-18) communicates that we should pray without ceasing. Without being legalistic, what are these passages showing us about being continually in the presence of God?
    1. What is your practice regarding the presence of God? How do you cultivate this?
    2. Is this something that comes naturally to you or has it been more of a struggle to do? Why? How do any of your practices help you do this?
  4. In the sermon, Pastor Thad also communicated that people of prayer are normally people of praise and full of joy. Read the quote below. Do you think this statement is true? Why or why not? How might this encourage you to seek the presence of God more?
    In order to praise the beauty of the mountain, one must go to the mountain and experience its grandeur, likewise, one must go to God to experience Him and be inspired to praise. We can acknowledge beauty from a picture (postcard) or someone else’s experience, but we are not enthralled and made breathless, that comes from exposure to the magnificence of the real vista!”
  5. Read John 16:33; Acts 16:25-34. Daniel and his friends, in the book of Daniel reveal the truth about the all-powerful God in many ways. Most notably, the greatest moments of revealing God came during great moments of challenge. With that in mind, what should the Christian’s character and composure be during seasons of challenge?
    1. Have you ever impacted anyone positively by your attitude during a challenging time in your life? Were you able to give testimony to God because of it? If not, how did you fail, what would you do differently next time?

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Daniel’s life was very atypical biblically and even culturally in that he had no wife or children and yet the text said he prospered and we are still telling his story today. For married and single people: How does this challenge the way you might normally think of singleness? How does this impact how you see the role of singleness in the Kingdom of God?
    1. For those that are single: How does this encourage you in this season of singleness that God has called you to; no matter how short or long it is?
  1. Read John 11:38-44. In Daniel 6 this was shown by Daniel coming out of the lion’s den as the stone was rolled away. What stone or challenge or area in your life do you need to pray to God for Him to move so that you might come from the other side and glorify Him?
    1. What keeps you from coming to God in prayer on this topic?
    2. What do you think might help you seek God in prayer more?

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. Challenge: Daniel prayed 3 times a day (at least). For the remainder of this week, you are challenged to stop and pray at least 3 times a day and journal the impact of this extra prayer time. You then must share your findings with one other member of your group.
  2. CLOSING PRAYER TIME: What do you think might be your biggest obstacle to seeing the above challenge happen? Have each person that is willing to share that obstacle and then pray specifically for them to see God work in that area of their life this week to see prayer happen more.

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Grow Group Questions • Citizen Exile • Daniel 5

Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)
(Pick one of the two options)
  1. What was the worst diet you’ve ever been on? Or, what was your worst diet failure?
  2. As we move past the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, we can see he had his ups and downs in his relationship with God. Share one example of how you’ve had ups and downs with God, and how’s he’s been patient with you.

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. Read or Paraphrase Daniel 5. What stuck out to you during the sermon, worship or in this section in scripture? How can you apply that truth to your life? How can the group help hold you accountable to that?
  2. It was amazing that Daniel, at 80 years old, was still remembered as a man of God and someone to be counted on. Who in your life was a “Daniel” to you? Why? Take time to tell the story.
    1. Right now, are you at a place in life that when the chips were down, you could be a “Daniel” to somebody? What would it take to get you to become that?
  3. The King looked everywhere else to find answers before going to Daniel or God. Why do we tend look for answers from everyone else before we go to God?
    1. How have you been doing at going to God to find answers or comfort?
    2. Are there specific areas that you struggle more with this than others?
  4. King Belshazzar was weight and found wanting. As you reflect on your life, how happy are you with your “weight” on a scale of 1-10? “1” being totally dejected and “10” being absolutely ecstatic about your “weight.”
    1. How would you rate yourself in these specific areas? Service, prayer, study, giving, attendance, Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians:22-23)
    2. What would it take to move a step further in your life and “increase your weight?”

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Daniel was confident in God and the messages that God gave him to deliver. We as believers are all called to share the message of the Gospel. Leaders: Give your under three minute testimony, and how you’d give someone a gospel presentation Then, break into pairs and practice walking through your testimony and how you’d give a gospel presentation. Though this might be weird and uncomfortable, practicing can help!
    1. When finished, come back together as a group. How do you think you did? What do you think your strengths were? What are some ways you can improve?
    2. Did anything stand out about how your partner shared their testimony or the Gospel?
  2. We had communion this week. Read 1 Corinthians 11:27-34. Who should take communion? Why should we reflect on our lives when we take communion? Why should we take communion on Sunday service and not some other special service?
  3. Read Hebrews 2:1-4. Particularly in the podcast (more so than in the sermon), Pastor Thad, Pastor David, and Joe talked about their opinions on how God might confirm his Word in such a sin-darkened and doubt-filled society through supernatural means, much like he did through Daniel to Belshazzar. How do you feel about God’s potential use of the supernatural to reveal His glory in modern society?
    1. What do you think are the pros and cons of God working this way? Why?
    2. Do you think that you would pray for God to move in supernatural ways? Why or why not?

Challenge and Prayer (15-20 minutes)

  1. Take some time to pray as a group that God would strengthen each of your abilities to use your testimony and to share the Gospel. If you are feeling bold, ask that God would give you an opportunity to share this week, and to walk alongside you as you share what He’s done for you, and what He’s done for all who accept Him. Follow up on this next week at group and tell about any opportunities God might have given you and how you feel you did.

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Grow Group Questions • Citizen Exile • Daniel 4

Conversation Starter/Questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. Some of us might be more familiar with King Nebuchadnezzar than others. What do you know about King Nebuchadnezzar or the Babylonian Empire that stands out to you, either through outside historical accounts or through your study of the Bible? 
  2. Based on what we’ve learned over the past few weeks in this sermon series, describe in one sentence what it means to you to be a “Citizen Exile.” 
  3. Because Daniel chapter 4 is a bit longer we were unable to read through the story on Sunday. Take a few moments before starting into the questions to read through all of Daniel 4 as a group before starting discussion. (Note: Pastor David was using the CSB version this week)

Sermon Based Questions (15-20 minutes)

  1. What stands out to you most in this story or about King Nebuchadnezzar?
  2. What particular themes do you see recurring in this story (there are several you might see)?
  3. Pastor David mentioned the latter part of Daniel 4:25 and 4:32 as a theme God wanted both Nebuchadnezzar and us to see “acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms, and he gives them to anyone he wants.” Why would God make this the one thing he wanted Nebuchadnezzar to understand and live out?
    1. Why is this important for you to understand this as a Citizen Exile and how can you live it out?
    2. Practically as Citizen Exiles, how does this call from God dictate how we should see and respond to those in political leadership that we disagree with, or think should not be in office
    3. Read 1 Peter 2:17 as an example of living this out (try reading it in a few different translations). Let’s be honest: Based on this story and 1 Peter, how are you doing at being an example to those in your life that you believe this and see that “the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms, and he gives them to anyone he wants”? 

Digging Deeper (15-20 minutes)

  1. Why do you think God gave a dream to Nebuchadnezzar telling him what he was going to do? What does this tell you about God?
  2. Historically Nebuchadnezzar was a pretty violent conqueror who often showed little mercy to those he defeated. What does this tell us about God that he would provide a way to restore Nebuchadnezzar back as king after he acknowledged God? What does it tell you about what God does in your life?
  3. It is easy to want to identify with Daniel in this story, but let’s reflect for a moment on Nebuchadnezzar and get a little more real. Even though we believe in God and his authority in what ways can we find ourselves thinking or acting like Nebuchadnezzar in our daily lives by struggling to acknowledge God by: relying on our own power, thinking we have control, or wanting to make things about us and our desires or glory?
  4. Would you be willing to share the one you are struggling with the most right now? What ways might God be asking you to “acknowledge Him” more in your life right now? 

 

Challenge and Prayer (10-15 minutes)

  1. After sharing where we find ourselves struggling and looking more like Nebuchadnezzar, take time to pray for each person over for the area they shared. Maybe have each person pray for the person on their left, or this might be a good night to break up into separate groups of women and men and share a little more details before praying for each other. 
  2. After doing this first prayer time, if you have time, consider praying for our church to be an example of how to live out as examples, no matter who is president, that we really believe Daniel 4:25 & 32; that we truly believe and  “acknowledge that the Most High is ruler over human kingdoms, and he gives them to anyone he wants” 

OR

Make this a commitment to be praying for as a group this week in our own time with God. 


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