Q52 Week 29

The Danger of Influence

The public aspect certainly is a weird one because it’s something that I think of often. Sometimes it can feel as though I am a character in a live broadway show where people are watching and I got to have my movements, my lines, and my deposition right otherwise it ruins the experience for other people. And that right there is a dangerous place to be in.

MONDAY, JULY 18

Connect: Matthew 6

DISCOVER:

  • What are some ways people may try to draw attention to their good works akin to “announcing with trumpets?” Why does Jesus call these people hypocrites? What is their reward (verse 20?)
  • What does it mean to not “let your left hand know what your right hand is doing?’ Is it possible to always hide all of the good things we do? Is it necessary? What is the principle we need to learn from this?
  • What is the proper reason for fasting? Who is the fast for? What is the goal of fasting? Should we fast? In what kind of situations would it be appropriate to fast? In what kind of situations might it be better not to fast?

RESPOND:

  • What is the gap between how God’s kingdom should be (how it is in heaven where there is no sin) and the world around us? What would this world look like if God’s kingdom reigned here? That’s what you should pray for. What would your church look like if God’s kingdom ruled there? That’s what you should pray for. What would your home look like if God reigned as king there? That’s what you should pray for.
  • What destroys us is the settled intention we are NOT going to forgive and have NO intention of forgiving. It is the enjoyment of holding grudges in our hearts and refusing to let it go. We must make war with this wrong attitude. Is there anyone you are refusing to forgive? Why? Pray for the Lord to reveal how to forgive.




TUESDAY, JULY 19

Connect: 1 Samuel 13 & 17

DISCOVER:

  • How long did Saul wait for Samuel? (13:8) What circumstance prompted Saul to go ahead with the burnt offering? (13:9)
  • What was Samuel’s question to Saul? How did Saul rationalize his actions? (13:11-12) How did Samuel judge Saul’s action? What difference did Saul’s choice make? (13:13-14)
  • 1 Sam 17: What does Goliath’s armor and weaponry reveal about him.
  • Where does David find the confidence to face Goliath? What larger missionary purpose is served by this single fight? How does David’s attitude compare with Saul’s (v. 11)?

 

RESPOND:

  • How did King Saul and King David differ in seeking the approval of people versus God?
  • What verse of Scripture could you post in a prominent place to remind you to wait for God’s timing rather than to take matters into your own hands?
  • What giants are drawn up against you in battle? How are they taunting you? Is your attitude toward them more like Saul’s or David’s? How does that attitude need to change?

WEDNESDAY, JULY 20

Connect: Galatians 1

DISCOVER:

  • What can you learn from verse 1 about what an apostle is? Why does Paul start almost every one of his letters identifying himself as an apostle? Who was he writing to? What do you know about Galatia and the church there?
  • What did Paul mean by the fact that they were deserting Him? What were they turning to? What is a false gospel? What specific false gospel may they have been turning to? What warnings did Paul give them about this? What can we learn from those warnings?
  • What is Paul’s point in verse ten?

 

RESPOND:

  • Can you say that you are trying to please God or please people? Think for a moment about something you have done before out of a motive to please others instead of God. Confess to God and ask Him to help you have pure motivations.
  • Do you have the same complete confidence in God’s Word that Paul did? If so, how will this confidence affect your life? Your decisions? Your words?

THURSDAY, JULY 21

Connect: Colossians 3

DISCOVER:

  • Who is the wife to be subject to? Why is this fitting in the Lord? What is the role of the husband?
  • What are children commanded to do? Why is it important to follow the structure of authority in the family outlined in this passage? What is true obedience? Why should children obey their parents? Does this command apply to adults whose parents are still living? Why or why not?
  • What does this verse show fathers they should be focused on?

RESPOND:

  • What percentage of people do you suppose have a healthy self-image? What are some of the indications that a person has low self-esteem?
  • Often people who appear arrogant are actually insecure. How have you seen that manifested in your experience?
  • How do public acts of piety lead to hypocrisy?
  • Which acts of religious devotion do you tend to perform for others to see?
  • When is it okay to publicly perform religious actions, and when does it become dangerous to your spiritual health?

FRIDAY, JULY 22

Connect: 1 Thessalonians 2

DISCOVER:

  • What was the result of Paul’s ministry among the Thessalonians? What incident helped give Paul and Silas boldness? What happened in Philippi? So what is one known reason for why God allowed this seemingly bad thing to happen to them?
  • What does it mean to be “entrusted with the gospel?”
  • What can we learn from these verses about proper motivations?

 

RESPOND:

  • One reason God entrusted the gospel to each believer is to share with the people we know. If we don’t share with the people we know, who would or should share with them? Who will you share the Gospel with this week?

SATURDAY, JULY 23

Proverbs 4

DISCOVER:

  • What will wisdom do for the person who does not forsake it? (4:5-6)
  • What is the value of listening to instruction? (4:13)
  • How do the path of the righteous and the way of the wicked differ? (4:18-19)

 

RESPOND:

  • What is one thing you can do this week to get wisdom?
  • What will you do today to avoid following the way of the wicked?
  • What tempting situation will you purposefully avoid this week?
  • What is something you can do to guard your heart today?

SUNDAY, JULY 24

Connect: Proverbs 16

DISCOVER:

  • Compare verse 2 to your life. Any convictions?
  • Reread verse 16. How should we view wisdom in terms of value?
  • How can you apply verse 21 in your work and family?

 

RESPOND:

  • When was a time when you really knew you were living God’s plans for you? How did you know?  Or, when was a time when you realized that you were not living God’s plans for you? How did you know?
  • On a scale of 1-5, rate the following religious practices in your own life: prayer, giving, Bible reading, church attendance, volunteer service. Why did you rate them this way? What can you do to improve those numbers?

Q52 Week 28

Dealing With Doubt

If you are doubting today, don’t sweat it, it’s normal. Take these steps and see where faith takes you.

MONDAY, JULY 11

Connect: Matthew 5

DISCOVER:

  • What blessing did Jesus pronounce on the poor in spirit?
  • How does being poor in spirit lead to this blessing?
  • What blessing did Jesus pronounce on those who hunger and thirst for righteousness?
  • How does hungering and thirsting for righteousness can lead to these blessings.

RESPOND:

 

  • Jesus opens his sermon in Matthew 5 by telling us that the poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is saying that only those who do not rely on their own goodness will be granted entrance to God’s kingdom. It is not an appeal to deny our worth as human beings, but to recognize our sin and our need for salvation. Matthew Henry comments that “to be poor in spirit is to have humble thoughts of ourselves, of what we are, and have, and do. To shun all confidence in our own righteousness and strength, that we may depend only on the merit of Christ and the spirit and grace of Christ. The kingdom of grace is comprised of such, the kingdom of glory is prepared for them.” Rich or poor, if we fail to see our need for salvation, we will fail to enter the kingdom.

TUESDAY, JULY 12

Connect: Exodus 20

DISCOVER:

  • How did the people react to the thunder and lightning?
  • Why were they afraid to hear God speak to them?
  • What similarities do you see here and with Adam and Even in the Garden?
  • What does Moses say is the purpose for God coming to them in this way?
  • How can we increase our fear of God so that we will not sin?

RESPOND:

  • Following the commandments of God is one mark of the true Christian. Following God’s law does not mean obeying it to secure our right standing before him. We can stand before him by his grace alone. Also, following God’s law does not mean obeying it in order to boast of how we are more godly than others. We are always to confess our sins and remember that “there but for the grace of God go I” (Luke 18:9-14). Through obedience, we thank him for the right standing granted to us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 13

Connect: Romans 13

DISCOVER:

  • What debt will we continue to owe according to v8, despite the instruction of v7?
  • How does love relate to the commands in v9?
  • What lessons should we learn?

RESPOND:

  • Fulfilling the Law by love cannot mean that the Christian life endorses behaviors contrary to what we often call the moral law of God. Jesus’ own teaching on the Law in Matthew 5 confirms this truth. The Lord came not to abolish the commandments but to fulfill them. The kind of love that fulfills the Law is not just reactive, but active. It looks for ways to do good to people before they have need. How can you show this kind of love to those in your circle?

THURSDAY, JULY 14

Connect: Galatians 5

DISCOVER:

  • Describe the consequences of seeking to be justified by the law – 5:4
  • What hope do we wait for – 5:5? Was this accomplished by the law?
  • What question concerned Paul in 5:7? What is the answer (based on context), and what does the question imply?

RESPOND:

  • Can you think of a time when someone kept the letter of the law but still violated the intention of the law?
  • If you grew up in church, would you say your church focused more on the letter of the law or its intention?
  • Which of the five alterations of ethics discussed in essay 28 of Quest 52 do you think our culture is in most need of now?
  • Which of these five is most natural to you? Which is the most difficult?

FRIDAY, JULY 15

Connect: 1 John 3

DISCOVER:

  • What position has God’s love given us – 3:1,2?
  • What is our relationship to the world, and what are the consequences?
  • Why did Jesus come to earth – 3:5?
  • What lesson should this teach about our own sins – 3:6?

RESPOND:

  • That to be a child of God means to be like Christ is made explicit in v2-3. At Christ’s return we will be like him, but even now this likeness is a present, though partial, reality since we are already God’s children. At his return we will be more like Jesus, even though we do not know all of what that entails. We can say, however, that being like Christ now and forever involves moral purity. Verse 3 tells us that those who hope in Christ purify themselves as he is pure. As we hope in Jesus alone, our lives will be transformed. We will become more holy in this life, and at his return be conformed fully to his spotless image.

SATURDAY, JULY 16

Proverbs 3

DISCOVER:

  • What qualities should we cling to according to 3:3? 
  • How firmly should we hold them?
  • What benefits would they give us – verses 3,4?
  • From where does proper guidance come? 
  • From where does it not come?

RESPOND:

  • Hindsight is often said to be 20/20. When we find ourselves in the place where the Lord wants us, we can often look back and see that the circuitous path it took us to get there was actually perfectly straight. What seemed like twists and turns at the time were necessary steps along the road. When we feel as if we are wandering, we must remember that if we are trusting in God, he is actually guiding us on his straight path.

SUNDAY, JULY 17

Connect: Proverbs 13

DISCOVER:

  • What will wisdom lead a child to do?
  • What are the advantages of correction and reproof according to v18? 
  • What inheritance does a good man leave for future generations v22? 
  • What happens instead to the wealth of sinners?

RESPOND:

  • Judas Iscariot walked with the very incarnation of wisdom and yet fell into grave sin. This shows that simply hanging around wise people is not enough to benefit from them. Instead, as we seek out wise friends and mentors, we must take care to learn from their wisdom, thinking carefully on what they say and asking many questions. If we do such things, God will enable us to benefit greatly from the wisdom of others.

Q52 Week 27

Dealing With Doubt

If you are doubting today, don’t sweat it, it’s normal. Take these steps and see where faith takes you.

MONDAY, JULY 4

Connect: Luke 4

DISCOVER:

  • What big event in Jesus’ life took place before going into the wilderness?
  • When the 40-day fast was up why do you think Satan tempted him?
  • Why did Jesus go into the wilderness for 40 days?

RESPOND:

  • After reading the essay, consider this question: Do you share Jesus’ concern about social justice?
  • Why is it important to know how Jesus deals with Satan (temptation)?
  • How do you deal with temptation?

TUESDAY, JULY 5

Connect: 2 Kings 5

DISCOVER:

  • Who is Naaman? What’s wrong with him? How does the maid know about Elisha the prophet?
  • Who does Naaman seek permission from to go to Israel? Why do you think the King of Aram (Syria) sent a letter of introduction?
  • When Naaman finally gets to Elisha, who does Elisha send out with instructions? Why does Naaman get angry? Wasn’t it brave of his servants to tell him to calm down and think through what he was asked?

RESPOND:

  • Read the story of Elijah and the widow (1 Kings 17: 8-24) and the story of Elisha and Naaman (2 Kings 5: 1-14). How do they set an expectation of the kind of ministry Jesus would provide?
  • Do you ever feel that you have to do something great? Isn’t that a form of trying to impress people? Have you ever been able to impress people by showing off? What usually happens when you show off?
  • Does God expect us to impress or express? What’s the difference?

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6

Connect: Acts 13

DISCOVER:

  • Where is “Antioch” (Acts 13:1)? How many prophets and teachers were “in the church that was at Antioch” (Acts 13:1)?
  • Who is “Barnabas”? Who is “Lucius”? Who is “Simeon”? Who is “Manaen”? What roles do “prophets and teachers” perform? Can prophets teach and teachers prophesy?
  • What is “fasting”? What does fasting involve? Who were fasting above? Why were they fasting?
  • Where is “Perga in Pamphylia”? Why did John Mark leave Barnabas and Paul in Perga and return to Jerusalem?

RESPOND:

  • Why did the good news of Jesus go to the Jews first and then to the rest of the world?
  • Should a Christian today tell someone else that that person will end up in heaven or hell?
  • What is the difference between judgment and discernment when Christians hold each other accountable?

THURSDAY, JULY 7

Connect: Romans 1

DISCOVER:

  • What exactly does it mean to be a bond-servant? What about “set apart for the gospel”?
  • What can you tell me about Rome at that time? What type of Christians lived in Rome? What does it mean that their faith was being proclaimed throughout the world? How would you describe Paul’s attitude toward the Roman believers?
  • Why are those who do these sins worthy of death? Even things like disobeying parents? Why? What does verse 32 tell us about how far people go in sin? What is the next step beyond doing it? Do you see this happening in the world today?
  • What is the “truth” which the wicked people suppress?

 

RESPOND:

  • Have you personally experienced what Jesus said: “No prophet is acceptable in his hometown”? Why do you think that is?
  • What happens when a church is concerned about spiritual needs and not social justice? What happens when a church is more concerned about social justice than spiritual needs?
  • What makes a church welcoming to outsiders? What could we do better to make outsiders feel welcome?
    • On a scale of 1-10, how well are you fulfilling these two sides of the Great Commission? What are you convicted about doing to improve in one of these areas?
      • Sharing the truth about Jesus
      • Showing the compassion of Jesus

FRIDAY, JULY 8

Connect: Romans 2

DISCOVER:

  • In the last chapter, we saw that Creation keeps people from having an excuse to avoid God’s judgment. How about this chapter? What does it mean to pass judgment?
  • We can either store up wrath or (reward)? What does the “day of wrath” refer to? What is the judgment based on (our deeds)? Who will face it?
  • Do verses 7-10 teach a works-based salvation? If not, what is taught in those verses (judgment is based on deeds)?
  • What was Jesus’ warning about those who guide the blind? In this context, what does “blind” mean? Who are the “foolish” and “immature” people here?

 

RESPOND:

  • What is the right word to describe someone who tells others what to do and then doesn’t do it himself? Do you think we fall into this category? Can you escape the judgment of God if you do these things?
  • What applications can we get from this passage?
  • What should professing Christians take out of this passage? If more religion or rituals doesn’t help, then what is Christianity and what should we do?

SATURDAY, JULY 9

Connect: Proverbs 2

DISCOVER:

  • How does one receive wisdom? Why is wisdom important to have as one goes through life?
  • What did Solomon say the reader would understand?
  • What results from being seduced by an adulteress?

 

RESPOND:

  • How do you discern what is wisdom from God, or just human thoughts?
  • In your experience, have you seen how your faith in God has protected you from difficult circumstances or provided you peace?
  • Why do people pursue sin when they know it will destroy them? What is one way you can make wisdom your shield?

SUNDAY, JULY 10

Connect: Proverbs 6

DISCOVER:

 

  • What should the person do who has put up security for his or her neighbor?
  • What is detestable to the Lord?
  • What results when we listen to our parents’ instructions?  How did Solomon describe these commands and teachings?
  • How did Solomon distinguish stealing and adultery?

RESPOND:

 

  • How can we avoid making unwise commitments?
  • In what one area of your life will you make an effort to be more disciplined this week?
  • What is one step you can take to deal with the inevitable temptation to lust?