- In the book Bowling Alone, author Robert Putnam said the greatest social epidemic in American life is loneliness. Do you agree? Explain.
- Experience teaches us why the one-another ministry is a necessary partner with preaching because the impulse to disappear in the crowd is very strong. How have you seen this play out?
- In what ways does living in community cause us to be more like Jesus?
1. You are a part of God’s great movement on the earth, the church. How would you describe why the church is here?
2. Jesus takes pride in His church, and knows the intentions of our hearts. Do we judge people according to their actions or give them the benefit of the doubt? Explain.
3. Why do you think God has City Central Church here today?
- Parables reveal truth to the hungry and expose the unbelief of the hard hearted. How would you describe the condition of your heart: hardened, shallow, worldly, or fruitful?
- The expectation of every believer is that they would bear fruit abundantly according to Mark 4:20 and Matthew 13:23. Are you bearing fruit? Explain.
- We are called to proclaim the gospel and teach the Word of God. The results will vary according to the condition of the hearts of the hearers. Who are you wanting to be more strategic with in your sowing?
Use the links below as resources in your prayer life:
- Jesus had deep love for Simon and the prostitute woman. Is there anyone that you have a hard time showing the love of Jesus toward? Explain.
- The one who has been forgiven much loves much. How long has it been since you have wept and been blown away by tearful appreciation? Has your Christianity become dry eyed and cold hearted?
- Confession of sin means to say the same thing that God does about that sin. Do you regularly, with thoughtfulness, ask the Lord to search your heart and expose every wicked way in you (Proverbs 28:13)? Explain.
For further prayer, download a reading by Charles Finney.
1. Where do your finances come from? Who is the source? Explain.
2. What is the true intended purpose of your paycheck? Explain.
3. Do you have a plan to manage them? Do you control them or do they control you?
4. Do you live out and implement your plan? Explain.
1. Happiness depends on happenings, joy depends on Christ. Where have you been placing your hope? In circumstances changing or in the unchangeable truth of who Christ is? Explain.
2. Trial and difficulty are necessary to grow into Christ-like maturity. What areas of your life have you been fighting against the Lord maturing you? Explain.
3. The Lord will allow special intense pressure situations in life that are used by Him to test and to teach dependence on Him. How dependent are you on Him in this season of your life? Explain.
1. You are only as free as your mind is. What we meditate on is what we become. Take a minute for self-analysis asking, “How free is my mind? Am I regularly taking thoughts captive or are they going unchecked? What’s the fruit of these thoughts?”
2. We are the gatekeepers of our mind. The devil does not decide what you think. God does not decide what you think. You decide what you think. Without submitting to God, we don’t stand a chance against the devil. What thoughts need to be submitted to God? (James 4:7).
3. The Word of God is a spiritual weapon. We are exhorted to be strong in the Lord, not in ourselves. If the Word of God is a sword, are you regularly learning and using it? Explain.
1. We’ve all experienced the pain of being brokenhearted. Marriages struggle, loved ones pass away, people get sick, businesses go under, jobs are lost, and dreams die. Not one gets through life unaffected by pain and heartache. What is one way you’ve experienced heartache?
2. Satan is quick to capitalize on catastrophic events when they come into our lives, and he uses them to try to tear us away from God. How have you seen this take place in someone’s life close to you?
3. God also uses times of pain and heartache to “bind us up” and bring perspective to our lives. Pray over those in your group that are needing “binding up” in this season.
4. God brings good news to the brokenhearted, and restoration in the midst of brokenness. Paul tell us, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). Only God can remove the chains of bondage that hold us hostage to sin and dysfunction. Call on Him in prayer together!
1. Bitterness is a very real and dangerous heart condition that many people don’t like to acknowledge. Without rationalizing things, do you find yourself living in a level of isolation? Dealing with eruptions of anger? Having a difficult time trusting others? Share with your group.
2. Forgiveness does not make the other person right, it just makes us free. Do you agree with this? Why or why not? Consider the statement:“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
3. Read over Matthew 18:21-35. Where do you find yourself in this story? What does it say about where your freedom comes from?
1. Tragic memories have a way of guiding our lives and shaping our future. The enemy puts shame on the things he wants to keep in the darkness. Do you know someone who has been liberated by bringing something hidden to light? If you need to bring something out of hiding, share with a trusted friend or elder so that grace can flow over your life.
2. If you were to stop and honestly assess yourself, can you relate more to Mary or Martha? Explain.
3. People that turn to busyness to manage their pain actually cause pain because of the avoidance they live in. How were you taught to manage your pain? Explain.
1. Have you experienced something that was devastating in your life? What have you done with the pain from that event?
2. Unless we deal with pain properly, it starts to accumulate and snowball. As it snowballs, it comes to compromise our quality of living. How has the accumulation of pain compromised your life?
3. The wounds we harbor in our spirits could be healed if only we would find the strength to come out of hiding and get help. In what ways have you been in hiding?