Advent: A Time for Celebration

Farewell service for Pastor George.

Interview between Pastor Egbert and Pastor George.









Advent: A Time for Dedication

  1. Describe a time when your life felt out of control (your example can be light-hearted or serious).


Read: Matthew 1:18-25

  1. Our concept of the Christmas story has become quite sanitized over the years that we often fail to grasp the human reality of it. What would Joseph’s reaction have been to learning that Mary was pregnant? How would you feel if you were in Joseph’s place?


  1. What do you think of Joseph’s plan (v.19)?


  1. What fear on Joseph’s part does the angel address (v.20-21)?


  1. What would it cost Joseph to go ahead and marry Mary?


  1. In our journey of faith, God will require risky, sometimes frightening obedience and devotion of us. Can you recall a time when you were certain that God was calling you toward that kind of obedience and devotion? How did you respond?


  1. How does the angel convince Joseph to go ahead with the marriage and become the adoptive father of Jesus? What is the significance of the angel telling Joseph what to name the child and how does the child’s name indicate the significance of the child’s birth (v.21)?


  1. What’s important about Matthew quoting Isaiah 7:14 (v.22-23)?


  1. Apart from fulfilling prophecy, why was Jesus’ virgin birth necessary?


  1. Look again at v.24-25. What effect did the angel’s message have on Joseph? Do you think Joseph’s obedience to God came easy after the angel’s visit? How did it remain costly? What sacrifices was Joseph now willing to make, and what do you think motivated them?


  1. How have you experienced Jesus as “Immanuel” in your life?


  1. What do you learn about obedience and devotion to God from Joseph? How can you put that into play in your life this week?

Ask, Seek, Knock

  1. What role does prayer play in your life right now? Are you more comforted or challenged by the privilege of prayer? Why?


Read: Matthew 7:7-11


  1. How is it significant that Jesus invites you to speak with God in prayer (v.7-8)? What, if any, reluctance do you have in turning to God in prayer?


  1. What is the significance of Jesus saying that God promises to respond when we pray (v.7-8, 11b)?


  1. What may the progression of “ask…seek…knock” be indicating about how we ought to pray?


  1. Who is the “everyone” God promises to answer in v.8? What do you make of those who argue that God plays “favourites”?


  1. Why do you think Jesus emphasizes that when we pray, we are coming to our Heavenly Father? How does this encourage or discourage you to pray? What does that say about your “father picture” and how is that being played out in your prayer life today?


  1. In what ways does God out-stripe an earthly father? Why does Jesus mention that here? One reality that Jesus challenges us in these verses is whether or not we really believe that God is good. Have you ever struggled with whether or not God is a giver of good in life? If so, when, and why?


  1. How does God giving only “good gifts” or “good things” to His children determine how we pray and what we can expect from prayer?


  1. Briefly discuss the four ways God hears and answers every prayer that were mentioned on Sunday. Which one was new to you or opened a new avenue of insight to you? Do you struggle to believe that God always responds to His children?   If so, why?


  1. What can you do this week to lean into the privilege of prayer more intensely?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Winning Out Over Worry

  1. What are some things you spend time worrying about? How do you think worry helps or harms you?


Read: Matthew 6:25-34

  1. Do you agree with the statement that worrying is acting like you don’t believe God’s promises?


  1. How does it feel to know that God cares about you and is going to take care of you?


  1. Does the flower analogy put into perspective how silly it is to worry about clothes?


  1. What are some ways you can seek God’s Kingdom – His rule in your life – first?


  1. Why do you think we worry so much, even though we know God will take care of us?


  1. Why do you think God tells us not to worry?


  1. In what way does talking to God about the things you are anxious about help you worry less?


  1. How would you feel if you told your child or your best friend that you were going to bring them lunch, but they spent the whole morning telling everyone they were worried that they weren’t going to have anything to eat that day? How do you think God feels when we worry about those things He’s already said He’d take care of?


  1. What can you do this week that will help remind you to not worry?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?


Loving Life’s “Others”

  1. When have you found it difficult to forgive another person? Describe what you experienced.


Read: Matthew 5:38-48

  1. What do you find most difficult about Jesus’ instructions in these verses?


  1. Jesus’ “eye for an eye” quote refers to Exodus 21:24. How would this instruction to those who were judges in Israel clarify the meaning of justice? How would this instruction as a consequence then limit the extent of revenge?


  1. It appears that the Pharisees extended this principle from the courts of law (where it was to belong) to the realm of personal relationships (where it did not belong). What consequences might have resulted?


  1. Have another look at v.39-42. How would you contrast our natural responses in such situations with the responses Jesus expects of us?


  1. What do you feel is accomplished by turning the other cheek or going a second mile? In what situations might Christ’s commands apply today?


  1. Consider v.44-45 again. According to Jesus, how are we to treat our enemies and why?


  1. In what ways is Jesus’ command extraordinary (v.46-48)?


  1. Does this teaching in any way mean that Christians are to be convenient doormats for the world to walk on? Explain your answer.


  1. How was Jesus Himself an example of the principles “Do not resist an evil person” and “Love your enemies”? How can you reflect your Heavenly Father’s character when you are mistreated?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

When Promises Are Broken

  1. You’ve been asked by the editor of a publication entitled “Vibrant Family” to write an article on “The top five reasons marriages fail.” What five points would you construct your article around?

Read: Matthew 5:27-37

  1. What, according to Jesus, is the full meaning of the 7th Commandment: “Do not commit adultery” (v.27-28)?


  1. Someone once compared lust to “a cannibal committing suicide by nibbling on himself” (Calvin Miller, “A Requiem for Love,” Christianity Today 34, no.2). How have you seen the destructive nature of lust in your life and in the lives of others? Where do you see it manifested in our culture today?


  1. Some Christians have taken v.29-30 literally and have mutilated their bodies. How do you think Jesus intends us to understand the warnings He gives in these verses? In what situations do you think you need to “gouge out an eye” or “cut off a hand”?


  1. Take a moment and ask God’s Spirit to help you get rid of anything in your life that causes you to sin and ask God’s Spirit to assist you in obeying Him in your attitudes as well as your actions.


  1. In view of v.31-32, we need to know that Rabbi Shammai taught that divorce was permitted only in extreme cases while Rabbi Hillel taught that it was allowed for “any and every reason.” How does this help us understand the easy divorce culture that Jesus took on in His day? What kind of impact do you think getting divorced so easily had on the social fabric of Jesus’ day?


  1. How does Jesus’ teaching contrast with today’s views you and your peers have held concerning marriage and divorce? In what case is divorce allowable according to Jesus? In your opinion, is a marriage salvageable in such an instance? Why or why not?


  1. How might the issue of oaths and vows be connected to the topic of lust, marriage and divorce (v.33-37)? The Pharisees had elaborate formulas for oaths, with some being binding and some not (see Matt. 23:16-22). Why is Jesus opposed to oaths? Does this mean, for example, that we should refuse to give evidence under oath in a court of law? State your reasons.


  1. Why should oaths be unnecessary for Jesus’ followers? If you are married, review the vows you have made with your spouse. Have you been faithful in keeping all the promises you made? If you are unmarried, consider your present sexual behavior. What is your responsibility toward a future spouse?


  1. Ask God’s Spirit to help you resist the pressures to compromise in marriage and speech. Having done that, work now on a different article, one entitled, “Five ways to make your marriage thrive.”


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

How to Be Free

  1. Have you ever had a run-in with the law? Describe what happened.


  1. If the Old Testament did not exist, what would be missing in your knowledge of God? Do you feel Christians should be obeying everything the Bible says? Why or why not?


Read: Matthew 5:17-20

  1. This passage naturally divides into two parts, v.17-18 and v.19-20. What does each emphasize?


  1. Why might people have thought Jesus came to abolish the Law and the prophets (v.17)? The Law and the Prophets (the OT) consist of teaching, prophecy, and guidelines for living ethically. In what sense has Jesus fulfilled each of these?


  1. How does Jesus emphasize His high view of OT scripture (v.17-18)? How can Jesus’ words strengthen our confidence in Scripture?


  1. What portions of the Bible have you tended to skip over or even neglect? How can you make studying these a higher priority?


  1. What does Jesus say about the importance of our response to the Law and how it determines our status in the Kingdom of Heaven?


  1. The Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law were zealous about observing the Law. How can our righteousness possibly surpass theirs (v.20)? Jesus states that only those who have this surpassing righteousness will enter God’s Kingdom (experience life under His rule). How can this be harmonized with His statement about the poor in spirit entering the Kingdom of Heaven (5:3)?


  1. Some people claim that Jesus abolished the law for the Christian and that we are only responsible for obeying the “law of love.” Respond to this view in light of Jesus’ words in this passage. How should we study and apply the OT law today?


  1. What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

So, You Want to Be Happy…

  1. How would you define the word “blessed”? Who do you normally consider to be blessed or fortunate?


Read: Matthew 5:1-12


  1. How does our normal description of those who are blessed or fortunate compare with those Jesus describes as blessed here at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount?


  1. Jesus teaches that those who are “poor in spirit” (v.3) acknowledge their spiritual poverty, their bankruptcy before God. Why is this a pre-condition for receiving the Kingdom of Heaven? Why is it so difficult for us to admit our spiritual poverty?


  1. Why would those who are poor in spirit feel a need to mourn (v.4)? Those who mourn feel sorrow not only for their own sin but also for the sin they see around them. What have you seen in society or in the news lately that causes you to mourn? How do you think those who mourn will be comforted?


  1. How would a true understanding of ourselves (v.3-4) lead us to be meek (v.5), that is, to have a humble and gentle spirit toward others? From the world’s point of view, why is it surprising that the meek will inherit the earth?


  1. What has Jesus said so far that would lead us to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Biblical righteousness has three aspects: legal, moral and social. What does it mean to hunger and thirst for each of these? Jesus promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled (v.6). What can you do to cultivate a healthy spiritual appetite?


  1. Jesus goes on to say that the merciful will be shown mercy (v.7). Why do you think how we treat others will affect how God treats us?


  1. Why would the promise of seeing God (v.8) be reserved for those who are pure in heart?


  1. How can we be peacemakers (v.9) in our homes, in our churches and in society?


  1. Why would the world despise the kind of people described in the Beatitudes? How have the Beatitudes challenged you to be and live differently?


Mastering Our Passions

  1. Describe a time in your life when you felt your life was out of control. What feelings gripped your heart during those moments?


  1. Where are people’s lives out of control in today’s world? Why do you think it is so?


  1. How do you define self-control, what does self-control mean to you? Is it harder for some than for others? Why might that be? Talk about the importance of this virtue’s presence in the list of the nine fruits of the Spirit – read Galatians 5:22-23.


  1. The Greek word translated “self-control” is a combination of two Greek words: en kratos. “En” means “in” and “kratos” means “strength, power, might or dominion.” A person with en kratos is a person who has strength within or rules him/herself well. Can we have self-control without God’s help? For the believer, how does this strength manifest itself in life’s daily decisions?


  1. Talk about the difference between self in control and self under control. What spiritual dynamic is at play here?


  1. If you took an honest inventory of your life, you might have to admit that some things are not the way they should be. Most of us struggle with feeling that we have a good grip on some parts of our life while others are somewhat out of control. What areas of your life do you feel you have a good grip? What is contributing to these areas being positive or healthy?


  1. In what areas of your life do you feel you need to exercise more self-control? Why? What is standing in the way of you exercising more self-control in these areas of your life? What needs to change if you’re going to get a grip on these areas of your life?


  1. How can you lean on God’s Spirit this week to cultivate the fruit of self-control in your life?


  1. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

You Can Count On Me

Unfortunately, no recording available.

  1. When you think of “faithfulness,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Why?


  1. What does the word “faithful” mean / how would you define “faithfulness”? What is the power of faithfulness in a culture where it seems fewer and fewer people value faithfulness?


  1. How do you exhibit faithfulness in your daily life? In what way are you challenged to be faithful in your daily life?


  1. Like all the other fruit of the Spirit, faithfulness is rooted in God’s character and in the work of Christ. How have you experienced God’s faithfulness (i.e. in what ways is He faithful to His children)? What helps you trust God?


  1. What do the following verses say about God and faithfulness: 1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:13? Which of these verses impacted you the most? Why? What do you learn about Jesus’ faithfulness from Heb. 3:1-16?


  1. How are you faithful to God? How are you faithful to others?


  1. In Sunday’s message, we considered a number of ways it’s important we are faithful to others. Which way in particular stood out to you? Why?


  1. Pause for a moment and ask God’s Spirit to bring to mind someone who would benefit from your faithfulness this week. Who is it? Why might God have brought this person to mind?


  1. How can you lean on God’s Spirit this week to cultivate the fruit of faithfulness in your life?


  1. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Kindness Matters

  1. Describe the kindest person you know. What do you feel makes them so? Would you describe yourself as someone who is habitually kind? Why or why not?


  1. How would you define kindness?


  1. How do you exhibit kindness in your daily life? What blocks the practice of kindness in your daily life? What do you think you can do to become kinder?


  1. Kindness is the medium through which Jesus’ love becomes tangible through us. It’s practicing benevolence and a loving attitude toward others. When have you experienced this in your life?


  1. On Sunday, we talked about how Jesus is the kindness of God, and that He has set an example for us to follow. Describe what is most inviting and most challenging to you about living this truth in your daily life.


  1. In Sunday’s message, we considered four ways Jesus has been kind to us and how we then can be kind to others. Which way in particular stood out to you? Why?


  1. Pause for a moment and ask God’s Spirit to bring to mind someone who would benefit from your kindness this week. Who is it? Why might God have brought this person to mind? In what way will you be kind to them this week?


  1. How can you lean on God’s Spirit this week to cultivate the fruit of kindness in your life?


  1. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?


Becoming More Joyful

  1. Describe the most joy-filled person you know. What do you feel makes them so? Would you describe yourself as someone who lives joyfully? Why or why not? If not, what do you feel is preventing you from living a joy-filled life?
  2. What is the difference between happiness and joy?
  3. On Sunday, numerous barriers to experiencing joy were discussed. Read James 4:1-2. How is selfishness an impediment to entering into true joy?
  4. Read Hebrews 12:15. How can bitterness and resentment keep us from experiencing joy?
  5. Read Proverbs 12:25. How will being filled with worry prevent a person from living a life filled with joy?
  6. The Bible makes very clear that there is a way to experience joy, though the way there goes against much of what our culture tells us. Acts 20:35 (GN) reads: “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” Talk about how living selflessly is a key step to experiencing joy.
  7. The Apostle Paul tells the Colossian believers (3:13 LB): “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Discuss how being willing to forgive frees a person to experience joy.
  8. Psalm 62:8 (LB) says: “Trust in God at all times; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” How can trusting God to act and focusing on His power instead of your problems move you to living a joy-filled life?
  9. The interesting thing about joy is that it is not dependent upon our circumstances. We can be joyful even in the face of tough times. Why is that so?
  10. Three reasons we can live with joy in even when life gets tough: God is with us in our tough times; God has a plan for us in the face of the challenges we face; and God promises to help us through our difficulties. Which of these speaks most powerfully to you today about living with joy in troubling times? Why?
  11. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Loving Like Jesus

1. When you were a child, who was the person you loved and trusted the most? What was it about this person that won your trust? If you didn’t have someone like that, share what that was like for you.

Read 1 John 4:7-12

2. According to v.9-10, exactly what has God done to express his love for? On a scale of 1 (so what?) to 10 (I’m fully impacted), how big a deal is that to you right now? Explain.

3. What does God’s act of love tell you about what it means to love someone?

4. Three times in this passage, the Apostle John tells his readers to “love one another.” As you think about your network of relationships (family, friends, work, school, church, community, etc.) what does living “love one another” look like for you?

5. Each of us has people in our network of relationships that we find difficult to get along with. Loving people we don’t like isn’t easy. What does loving the unlovely mean for you? How can we love those we find difficult to like?

6. As we don’t automatically have enough love in us to love the unlovely, we must find and plug into the true source of love, Jesus Christ Himself. We can love because we have been loved by Him. We love to the degree that we are truly convinced we are loved – we give the kind of love we ourselves have received. Discuss.

7. If you have trouble experiencing God’s love, what do you think gets in the way? What do you think could help you become a more loving person?

8. Read Romans 5:8 (NLT): “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Jesus loved us and gave Himself for the forgiveness of our sins when we were unlovely. How does this encourage you to love those who may be unlovely in your life?

9. Take a moment to pray for yourself (and others in your group) asking God to help each person know the depth of His love, and to be conduits of this love to others, particularly those who you find challenging to love.

10. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Lasting Friendships

  1. Describe your best friend and why they are your closest friend.


  1. Respond to the statement, “Real, enduring friendships are forged over time.”


  1. What is so meaningful about truly being known and truly knowing one another?


  1. Read: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV). What quality in friendship is this proverb highlighting? Why do we value so highly those who are dedicated to us and stay faithful to us?


  1. Read: “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9 NIV). What quality in friendship is this proverb highlighting? What makes consideration so meaningful to us? How does it act as a key element of a strong friendship?


  1. Read: “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13 NIV). Friends who can’t keep secrets won’t be friends for very long. Describe your experiences, both good and bad, with friends and secret-keeping. Why is confidentiality critical to building friendships that endure?


  1. Read: “An honest answer is the sign of a true friendship” (Proverbs 24:26 GN). How can we speak the truth in love to each other more effectively and freely? What happens when we speak truth without love, or are loving without being truthful? How would each scenario affect a friendship?


  1. Read: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV). When iron sharpens iron, there’s friction which produces heat, and often sparks fly. How is “sharpening” good for forging a friendship that endures?


  1. Read: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV). Describe a situation where a close friend was there for you when you needed him/her. Talk about the importance of dependability in a friendship.


  1. If we want a friend with these qualities, we have to be a friend with these qualities. In what area are you feeling challenged? What are some of the challenges of cultivating an enduring friendship? In what way is Jesus our model?


  1. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Becoming a Better Listener

  1. Share an experience where you were in conversation with someone but got the feeling that they weren’t really listening. How did it make you feel? Why do we value being listened to?


  1. One well-known author stated: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Have you found this to be true? How?


  1. What do you feel are some of the barriers in giving people our attention, in actively listening when they are sharing?


Read: James 1:19-27

  1. How would you summarize these verses in terms of what God desires from us? What stands out in particular to you?


  1. How can being quick to listen and slow to speak help us be slow to become angry (v.19)? Why is it important to seek to understand before seeking to be understood? How could putting v.19 into practice this week impact your relationships with others?


  1. How have you experienced the truth that “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (v.20)?


  1. James tells us that God’s Word was planted in us. What weeds can choke that Word and keep it from growing (v.21)? Explain.


  1. In your own words explain how the person who merely listens is different from the one who puts God’s Word into practice (v.22-25). Why is there a tendency for some believers to listen to and yet not follow God’s Word? How can we avoid this tendency in our lives?


  1. According to v.26-27, how do people who think they are religious differ from those who have a living faith in Jesus?


  1. How can you listen better to others this week?


  1. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?


  1. As a child, how did you respond when things didn’t go your way? How do you respond today when things don’t go your way? Why do you think you respond the way you do?


  1. What is it that arouses anger in you? How do you express your anger? Why?


Read: Jonah 4:1-11


  1. In v.2 we discover why Jonah ran from God. What reason does Jonah give God for running? What’s intriguing about what Jonah says (i.e. why is he angry and depressed now)? What history was there between Israel and Assyria? How did that play into Jonah’s initial response to God (why he ran)?


  1. What’s interesting about God’s response to Jonah in v.4? What lesson is God trying to teach Jonah?


  1. Jonah proclaimed the message God gave him and the city repented. Mission accomplished, right? Not really…at least not in Jonah’s eyes. Why do you think instead of leaving the city and going home, Jonah decided to go outside of the city in order to “wait to see what would happen to the city”? What do you think Jonah was quietly hoping for? What does this reveal about his heart?


  1. What three things does God provide Jonah (v.6-8)? What role does each of these things play in the lesson God was trying to have Jonah learn? What was that lesson?


  1. What’s curious about how the story ends? Why do you think the author leaves the readers hanging?


  1. When have you ever found yourself reacting negatively to the mercy and compassion God showed other people? Why did you react that way?


  1. When have you tried limiting God’s mercy and compassion for others? To whom is God wanting you to show mercy and compassion?


  1. How important is reaching those who are far from God to you? In what way are you more concerned about your personal comforts and personal pursuits than reaching the lost? How do you think God feels about this?


  1. What do you sense God has been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?

Divine Intervention

  1. Have you ever felt your whole life pass before your eyes? What happened?


  1. Recall a dark and lonely period in your life. What precipitated it? How did you experience God in that time? How did it impact your life? Your faith?


Read: Jonah 2:1-10

  1. What is the general tone of Jonah’s prayer? What kind of a prayer is it? A call for help? A recommitment?


  1. What is the significance of Jonah praying from the belly of the fish but using verbs in the past tense, as though God had already answered his prayer?


  1. While Jonah might have been safe for the moment, how was he still in “deep trouble”?


  1. Where does Jonah show assurance of being delivered in spite of appearances to the contrary (v.4, 6, 7, 9)?


  1. Compare v.3 with 1:15 – how does Jonah view circumstances? God’s control? God’s purposes?


  1. Describe a time in your life when you were on the run from God or felt far from God. What happened? How was your life “brought up from the pit” (v.6)?


  1. How could the trial you are going through be God’s avenue of change for you? Where in your life are you desperate enough to pray with hope as Jonah does here?


  1. What has God said to you through this time of reflection / discussion? What are you going to do about it?

Power to Change

  1. Talk about a time you experienced something unexpectedly powerful.


Read: Ephesians 1:15-23

  1. Power is one of the great themes in Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus. That may have been strategic on Paul’s part because Ephesus itself was regarded as a place of power. Socially and civically, the city was powerful and was set to become more of a major player in the Roman Empire of the day. But it was also a center of religious power. Before Paul writes about power, he tells his readers how thankful he is for them. Why is he grateful for his readers (v.15-16)?


  1. How does Paul blend praise with petition when he prays (v.17)? What are his specific prayer requests for those reading his letter (v.17-19)?


  1. According to Paul’s prayer, we grow in wisdom the more we get to know God. How does knowing Jesus more help us see and understand things differently?


  1. What was the greatest display of power the world has ever seen (v.20)?


  1. Part of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers is that they understand that the power seen at Easter, now vested in Jesus, is available to them daily. Sadly, too many believers are either unaware of this power or don’t access it, which is why he prays that God would open their eyes to see what’s available for them. What should and shouldn’t using this power look like in our daily lives?


  1. How have you experienced this power in your life? How can this power help you change for the better in your life? Give specific examples.


  1. What authority does Jesus have now (v.21-22)? Why is this significant?


  1. Jesus is the head of the church. The church is his body, his hands and feet, carrying out his mission in this world. How can we, his church, act as his agents within the network of relationships in which we live? Give specific examples.


Pray: Thank God for the power we have through Jesus’ resurrection, and ask him to help you see it and access it in your daily life.

Powerful Partnerships

1. What is one thing you’ve secretly wished all your life you could do? What’s keeping you from doing it?

2. Who in your life played a pivotal role in your coming to faith?  Who has been very influential in your spiritual formation?  Why? What qualities did they model for you?

Read: Philippians 2:19-30

3. If you had to give a character reference for Timothy or Epaphroditus, what would you say?  How do they illustrate Php. 2:1-4?

4. Which of the challenges the believers at Philippi were facing (1:17; 2:3; 3:2; 4:3) would Timothy and Epaphroditus be most suited to deal with?

5. Timothy and Epaphroditus serve as models to pattern our lives after particularly in focusing on the needs of others.  How did each of them do that?  How would your perspective change if you asked yourself, “Who can I serve?” every time you walked into a room?

6. Timothy and Epaphroditus also teach us to give ourselves to causes that are worth dying for.  What does it mean to “give away” our life for a godly cause?  Give examples of people you know who have put service to God (or others) before their own security.  How has the example of their life impacted you?

7. Another quality the men Paul mentions model for us is to become someone people trust.  Timothy was a proven servant who developed a reputation built on integrity and who kept his promises (his actions matched his words, no matter the cost). From Paul’s comments regarding Timothy’s trustworthy character (v.20), what can we conclude about the life choices Timothy made? How can we become trustworthy? Who do you trust and why?

8. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (Mes) says: “You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common.”  Learning to work well with others is critical to life together. Based on the above verse, what does Paul say is essential for being a team player? Discuss ways to build these characteristics into the group you are a part of.

9.  Who are the models of humility and service you can look up to today, as Paul looks to Timothy and Epaphroditus?  How do they challenge you to grow?