Advent Message Series

Light is a necessary part of life. It provides clarity and direction so we can make our way. It provides safety and security. But sometimes, especially at this time of the year, we feel burdened by the the darkness all around us. God wants us to walk in his light and to make our way through this world, that often seems so dark and difficult to navigate, with him as our guide. God wants to light our way, but we have to choose to walk in his light. 

WEEK 1 SMALL GROUP VIDEO AND QUESTIONS

  1. Do you or your family do anything this time of year to go and see Christmas lights?
  2. Does the darkness at this time of years affect your mood or do you remain
    unaffected by it?
  3. When was a time that you were struggling and someone showed you the light or
    helped you to see clearly?
  4. What feels dark in your life right now? Where do you feel you need the light of
    Christ to go forward confidently?
  5. Who do you know that needs the light of Christmas in their lives? What can you do to point them to the light of Christ?

WEEK 2 SMALL GROUP VIDEO AND QUESTIONS

  1. What evidence of darkness do you see in the world?
  2. What is the difference of walking in the darkness versus walking in the light?
  3. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world”. How is He the light of the world?
  4. As followers of Christ, it is not that we OUGHT to be light, it is we ARE the light.
    Explain the difference.
  5. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your
    good works…..: Matthew 5:16a
    How can your good works be a light to others?
  6. In what ways do our good works cause others to glorify God? How can we ensure
    that our works do not backfire, and glorify us instead?
  7. Share a practical way you plan to be a light this holiday season?
    In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works. Matthew 15: 6a

WEEK 3 SMALL GROUP VIDEO AND QUESTIONS

  1. Do you see and believe in the potential our church community has for positive
    impact?
  2. When you read Ephesians 5:6-9 as being addressed to “you all” in the plural
    (instead of in the singular as addressed to an individual) does it change the meaning
    for you at all? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. In what ways are the members of your group already positioned in areas of
    darkness where you can bring light? How can you be “in the world not of the world” in
    those places?
  4. Light is attractive. How do you think your good works can attract people to God? In
    what ways can you intentionally go into dark places to bring light?
  5. As a small group, together what can you do to bring light to our community
    between now and Christmas or starting in the new year?
    Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath ofGod comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them;for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as childrenof Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth) Ephesians 5: 6-9

PAST MESSAGE SERIES SMALL GROUP VIDEOS AND QUESTIONS

We don’t have to look very hard to find bad news, it’s all around us, all the time. The world is filled with it. Lots of the time even the Church’s message can come across as negative and unwelcome.

And yet, as Christ followers we steward the greatest news in the history of the world. “Gospel” itself literally means good news. The Gospel is the good news of God’s love and care for us, the promise that He is for us and not against us, and that He really does intend all things to work.

This is a 6 week whole Church message series so we will hear the message at the weekend Masses and dive deeper through our small groups during the week.

Good News – Small Group Discussion Questions WEEK 1

  1. What was the last piece of news that changed your life?
  2. Is it news to you that Christianity is Good News? What is your reaction to that description of Christianity?

The time of fulfillment is at hand. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good news.

Mark 1:14

  1. What are the aspects of Christianity or the Gospel that you find joyful and make your life better?
  2. Why do we need context to understand when something is good news? What is the context people need to understand the Good News of the Gospel?
  3. Who are the people in your life that are disconnected from Christ and his Church? Do they perceive Christianity as Good News? How can we help others see the good news of the Gospel?

Good News Week 2

  1. Two ways of getting prayer wrong were presented: deism and paganism. Do you agree or disagree that many people have these views of prayer? Why?
  2. Where have you seen God answer your prayers?
  3. Have you ever felt like God has ignored you or let you down in prayer? How did you make sense of that?
  4. What do you need from God right now? Have you begun to consistently and specifically ask God for what you need? Why or why not?
  5. Why is it important for people to see God as a loving Father who wants to give us good things? Is this the image you have of God?

And Jesus said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;

Luke 11:5-6

Good News Week 3

1.  Do you prefer to hear good news or bad news first?

2.  What is the difference between living your faith as an obligation versus an experience?

3.  Are you more like the Pharisee ‘I am a good person’ or the Tax Collector ‘I am a sinner’. Explain.

4.  Tim Keller wrote: ‘This is how Jesus lived and died to earn the way to God for you’. How do you respond to that?

5.  How are pride and self righteousness barriers to God and man?

6.  Read Luke 18:14 and Matthew 23:12. Share a time when you or someone else experienced this truth.

“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone

who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Good News Week 4

1.  Share a time when you were lost. What makes you feel lost the most? Read Luke 15:4-7:

    “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

2.  Why was the lost sheep so important to the shepherd?

3.  How does the shepherd express his love and care for the lost sheep?

4.  Was the lost sheep condemned? Why or why not?

5.  Share how God has sought you and perhaps called your name. How are you responding?

6.  Pray for someone who is lost (even if it is you!).

Good News Week 5

  1. What does it mean to you that there will be a resurrection of the body? Why is that Good news?
  2. The Good News means that God is making a new creation, a new world and we get to partner in creating it.  What is your reaction to that statement? How can you partner in creating it?
  3. What is your reaction to “Everything sad will come undone”? Does that seem too good to be true?
  4. Is there a particular defeat or sad event from your life that you would like to see undone or put right? Does this passage from Scripture fill you with hope?
  5. Read aloud 1 Corinthians 15:58. What are the implications of this verse?

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions and principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:15-16

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the Church; he is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in everything he might also be pre-eminent.

Colossians 1:17-18

For in him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.

Colossians 1:19-20

Good News Week 6

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 13-17

  1. How do you react when faced with conflict? Are you fight or flight? Do you turn to prayer or busy yourself with distractions?
  2. What are some of the lies you need the belt of truth to protect you against?
  3. What is your “heart-protector” that you are using instead of putting on the breastplate of righteousness?
  4. Where do you crave peace the most in your day-to-day life? When do you most struggle with the idea of my will vs thy will be done?
  5. Where do you most feel the arrows coming at you in life? At work? At home? In relationships? What doubts do those arrows create?
  6. Share about a time you were led by the body, by impulse that came from emotions and reactions rather than putting on the helmet of salvation first.
  7. What are some helpful tools you can incorporate into your daily life to practice your use of the sword of the spirit?
  8. Identify which piece of armor you struggle with most to put on.

Below are a few of our previous small group message series videos and discussion questions.

Confessions of a Control Freak Week 1

  1. What are your initial thoughts about the “Confessions of a Control Freak” series?
  2. Are you already aware of your tendency to be controlling in certain areas or is it a
    stretch for you to believe that you might be a control freak?
  3. There is definitely an upside to controlling some things in life. What are the pros
    and cons of being a control freak?
  4. Putting yourself in the shoes of Peter, what do you think it would be like for Peter
    to enter the house of a Gentile when all his life he had been taught not to? Do
    you think this series might stretch you to do something you’ve never done
    before?
  5. What would you like to get out of this series? Write it down. There is typically a
    cost or need to give up something in order to gain something else. How can your group be praying for you to grow in this area?

Confessions of a Control Freak Week 2

  1. What are some classic characteristics of a “control freak” as it relates to tasks?
  2. Have you been a control freak in any task or project recently?
  3. How does it feel to be working alongside a control freak?
  4. Describe the balance of accomplishing a task and not controlling it.
  5. What does Jesus mean in Mark 10:43a “But it shall not be so among you.”
  6. How does surrender to God happen when trying to see a project through?
  7. Share your thoughts on: “But whoever would be great among you must be your
    servant…” Mark 10:43b
  8. Describe a time when you surrendered a task to God.

Confessions of a Control Freak Week 3

  1. Do you consider yourself to be a control freak when it comes to what others think of
    you? On a scale from 1-10, how tightly are you holding on to your image?
  2. We all want to be liked, to be well thought-of, to be popular with people that we love
    (and maybe some that we don’t). Name a few ways that you attempt to control your
    image or control what others think of you.
  3. In what area of your life are you most tempted to try to control what others think? Is it
    a social circle? Work? Around other parents or grandparents? Why?
  4. In the message, Kelly mentioned that controlling our image comes down to two
    things – fear and pride. What are you afraid of when it come to your popularity? What
    is the biggest source of pride in your life?
  5. Read Mark 13:13. Tell about a time you felt hated because of your faith in Jesus
    Christ. What do you think about the idea that a true Christian cannot be popular?
  6. Read James 4:4. How does our friendship with the world put us in danger with our
    faith?

Confessions of a Control Freak Week 4

  1. Would you describe yourself as a person who controls others or do you tend to be
    controlled?
  2. How did the religious leaders try to control people in the Old Testament?
  3. Take a look at the 10 Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:6-21, which commandments
    refer to our relationship with God, and which to one another?
  4. What is the greatest commandment? Deuteronomy 6:1-9
  5. How can ‘You love your neighbor as yourself’?
  6. Do you believe God has a unique plan for you, that is different than anyone else?
    Why or why not?
  7. What does it mean to surrender a relationship to God? How do you do it and not
    control it?
  8. Is there a relationship you need to surrender to God? If you’re comfortable, share
    who and take time to pray as a group.

Confessions of a Control Freak Week Five

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how much are you a control freak about money? One means it is
    not a problem at all and 5 means you are a total control freak. Why do you answer as
    you do?
  2. Has there ever been a time where you felt powerless because you didn’t have
    enough money? When was that? How does that impact your attitude towards money
    now?
  3. When do you find it easy to give? When do you find it to be a challenge?
  4. How does giving money to God show our faith and trust in him?
  5. When have you given money away and been glad you did?
  6. How do you review your giving?
  7. Why does Jesus praise the widow for her giving? What does that teach us about how
    he wants us to give?

Confessions of a Control Freak Week Six

  1. What environments, programs or habits have helped you grow closer to Jesus?
  2. What areas of your life do you find it easy to trust Jesus with? What areas do you
    struggle with?
  3. When would you say your faith in Jesus became personal and your own?
  4. Who of your family, friends, and co-workers needs a relationship with Jesus? How are
    you investing in them right now?
  5. What are your thoughts on Wow 1? What can you do when you come to Mass in your
    ministry to make Wow 1 a reality?
  6. Of the goals mentioned in the video, which ones most excite you or interest you?

  1. In what areas of your life do you feel like you have enough or are doing enough? Why
    do you believe those areas are in good shape?
  2. Is there an area or areas of your life where you don’t feel like you have enough, or you
    are doing enough? If so, what are they? If not tell, the rest of us your secret.
  3. Where do you feel the most pressure from others to have or do enough? Where do you
    feel the most internal pressure to have or do enough?
  4. Read aloud. 1 Kings 19:11-12. Where do you go to hear the still, small voice of God?
    What do you do to position yourself to hear from God?
  5. As we begin this series, are there any hopes or expectations you have for the series?
    What do you hope to get out of it?

Week Two

  1. If enough isn’t our goal in life, why do we so often make it our goal or focus?
  2. What does following Jesus look like to you? If someone asked you how do you follow
    Jesus, what would you say?
  3. Would you describe your relationship with Jesus as a personal one? If so, what makes it
    personal?
  4. Psalm 23 speaks of “paths of righteousness.” How does this help free us from
    perfectionism or thinking that we have to follow perfectly?
  5. Read aloud Psalm 23:5. What images come to your mind as you read that verse? What is the promise for you personally?

Week Three

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how difficult do you find it to ask God for help? 1 means you find it
    easy to ask for help. 5 means it is difficult for you.
  2. Have you ever asked for help and been rejected or told, no? How does this impact our
    ability or desire to ask for help?
  3. Where is there not enough of something in your life? Where are you struggling to have
    enough, do enough or be enough? What do need to ask God to provide for you?
  4. Dallas Willard writes, “God does not give us what we need without being asked.” What
    is your reaction to that statement?
  5. When have you asked God for something, and he gave it to you? When have you asked,
    and he didn’t? How have you interpreted why God provided in one case and did not
    provide in the other?

Week Four

  1. Do you resonate with the good deeds verse bad deeds mentality? Why or why not?
  2. Who do you identify with in Luke 18, the religious leader or tax collector? Why?
  3. Who are you tempted to compare yourself to? What affect does comparison have on
    us?
  4. Why is Jesus and living in him enough for God? How does believing this help us get rid
    of the concern of being “good enough” for God?
  5. What is God’s position? What is man’s condition? What is God’s provision?

Week Five

  1. On a scale of 1-5, how difficult do you find it to ask others for help? 1 means you find it
    easy to ask for help. 5 means it is really difficult for you.
  2. Is there an area of your life where you feel like Elijah that you are overwhelmed and
    battling all on your own? Work? Family? Finances? Another Area?
  3. Who are the people God has already put around you that help you? If you don’t know
    who can help you, have you prayed and asked God to send people to help you?
  4. Where do you feel like you don’t have enough knowledge or resources? How can this
    group help you?
  5. Immediately following a great victory, Elijah became depressed because he wore
    himself out and shut others out, which of these two are you more likely to do?
  6. As we wrap up, what has been your biggest insight or lesson you have learned from
    this series.