Have you ever been part of a club or a group, what did you have to do to be a member?
What do you think Jesus is trying to communicate to people in v17? Why would does it matter today?
Who does Jesus call to follow him and how does he explain what he is calling them to do?
How is the cost of following Jesus shown in this passage?
Can you share an example of how Jesus’ lordship has affected your life?
Repenting (turning our lives around) and following Jesus is on one hand a terrifying thought. What convinced or would convince you that it is worthwhile to live for Jesus?
Matthew 5:21-37 – Getting to the heart of God’s law
Life Group Notes for 12 Feb 2017
Have you ever used a saying or a word, only to discover that it meant something else?
Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, you may like to spend some time looking at the whole sermon Matthew chapters 5-7 later in the week. It ends with the crowds…‘amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority.’ Matt 7:28-29
We would probably want to agree with everything Jesus talks about in theory. However in practice, living in a broken world, we may struggle to accept some of these things.
Jesus repeats the phrase “you have heard that it was said”. Jesus is teaching the law, something they would have known very well. So why does it seem like Jesus is teaching something new?
We may think that we have never murdered anyone, so we don’t need to listen. How does Jesus get our attention? What does he say about our attitudes and thoughts?
4. How serious is our sin or law breaking according to v22?
5. To what lengths should we go to, to avoid these things?
6. What hope do we have knowing that we can never keep these commandments?
You may want to reflect on 1 Peter 2:22-25, 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Matthew 10:24-39 – A radically new life!
Life group notes 25 June 2017
What have you given up or sacrificed for career, family, to develop a skill or devote yourself to something?
In Matthew 10:5 to 11:1 we see teaching about the Christian mission. In 10:17-22 Jesus speaking to his disciples says:
Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged…On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles…You will be hated by everyone because of me…
Jesus is preparing both his disciples and us as we begin to understand how the radical nature of discipleship and the great commission given in Matt 28:18-20.
2. The Reformation Study Bible says: ‘The Bible consistently teaches that fear and reverence are appropriate responses to God.’ What reasons are we given in v26-31 to both fear and revere God?
3. Romans 6:1-11 gives a picture which explains the enormity of coming to Jesus and following him. How does it help us as we seek to understand Matthew 10:32-38?
4. How is following Jesus both a help and a challenge in day to day life? Or how does it make life easier, more bearable and sometimes possible? How does it make it more difficult, more painful?
Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you put Jesus above everything else! Ask him to help you give up anything getting in the way.
Matthew 20:1-16 – Taken aback by Grace
From Sunday 24 September – Matthew 20:1-16
Have you ever been overwhelmed by someone’s kindness or generosity?
Read Matthew 20:1-16
2. Why is it so important to know that this passage is not talking about salvation? What would it imply if it was?
3. How would you describe or explain what God’s grace is to someone?
4.What is it that has most helped you understand God’s grace for yourself? If you are unsure about what grace is, what would help you?
5. How does grace and salvation by faith alone set Christianity apart from other religions?
6. Those listening to the story may have had all sorts of reasons to complain. Pharisees and Jews who often felt they were justified by keeping the law, the disciples who had given up everything to follow Jesus. What might lead us to grumble against God’s kindness, mercy and grace.
7. How can we communicate and share the grace of God with people?
Listen below or download the talk from Advent Sunday 2016.
Have you ever been caught off guard, forgotten a birthday, an exam or meeting up with someone? What happened?
In what ways will Jesus’ second coming be like the days of Noah?
What is the difference between those who are taken and those who are left? What is shocking about Matthew 7:21-23?
What happens when we forget Jesus’ criteria for salvation and begin to think it is about what we do?
What does the short story/parable add to what Jesus is saying? v43-44
Are you looking forward to Jesus’ return, are you confident about the outcome?
Pray that Jesus will open the eyes of those who do not currently know him and for whom his return will be a disaster!
Matthew 28:16-20 – Being disciple makers!
Listen below or download the talk from 11 June 2017.
Who is the most powerful or influential person you have met? How far does their influence reach?
Why is it so significant that Peter was included in Jesus’ great commission? (See Matt 26:31-35, 69-75) How might this encourage us?
What elements make up Jesus’ commission in v19-20? And why can Jesus call everyone to follow and obey him?
What kind of evidence or witness might there be in our lives that we live for Jesus? Is our witness and love for Jesus as obvious as our love for (the thing you enjoy telling others about)? e.g. Favourite books, trip to the Philharmonic, your home or garden, Holidays…
Do we feel able to speak about Jesus and call others to follow him? If not, why not?
Who is missing from Christ Church? Who do we overlook to invite to church or to speak about Jesus with? In what way are we going out to the world?
Share whether you have had opportunities to speak to the people you were praying for during ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. If you haven’t been praying for people, share who you would like to commit to pray for.
Is there someone you feel like you know even though you have never met them? Maybe a presenter, author, public figure.
John the Baptist makes a surprising admission, why is it such a strange thing for him to say. What does he really mean?
v31 and 33
Who else can we think of from the gospels who would have claimed to know Jesus but fell short of truly knowing him?
What was it that opened John’s eyes to Jesus’ true identity?
What two things do the first disciples of Jesus do?
Truly knowing Jesus is a gift of God, it is only when the Spirit opens our eyes that we truly ‘get it’. If you want to know Jesus for yourself you might like to ask someone in your group or someone at church to pray for you.
Alternatively you may like to mention someone you would like to come to know Jesus this year.
Life Group idea
Share those names with your group and commit to praying for them together. Revisit the list again in a few months and see if God has answered your prayers.
1. Is there something we aspire to own, achieve or become that we believe will truly satisfy us?
2. A crowd of people are following Jesus, but what does he say they are looking for?
The context helps make sense of Jesus’ statement – John 6:1-15 & 26
3. Do we put a lot of energy into things that are temporary? How do we know? See verse 27
4. We might be worried that it takes a lot of hard work to please God. Why is the answer to the crowd’s question in v28 such good news?
Reading Ephesians 2:8,9 may help, you could try putting it in your own words.
5. What are the parallels between Jesus and the manna from the wilderness (find out what manna is in Exodus 16)? Who does Jesus say he is and why is he better than a sign or manna? v30-35
6. Do we believe that knowing Jesus could really satisfy our deepest longings forever?
Try to imagine the perfectly result of Q1 and that you had boundless energy to enjoy it, lacked nothing and could enjoy it forever! Knowing Jesus is far greater than that!
For further reflection read Ephesians chapters 1-2
John 11 – Hard times & tough questions
Download or listen to this talk on Hard times & tough questions from John 11.
John 14:1-14 – Hope in the face of death
Life group notes 14 May 2017
Have you ever discovered something that changed the way you look at life? Not necessarily related to your faith!
Jesus has washed his disciples feet, ate the last supper and predicted Judas’ betrayal. Yet Jesus is not thinking about himself he has the disciples and us in mind as he speaks to them, anticipating the grief they will experience when he dies.
How can Jesus really expect them not to let their hearts be troubled in the face of death? How does he try to comfort them?
What does Thomas help us to discover? What does Jesus’ answer tell us about our faith and the faith of those who believe in salvation by any other route?
What does Jesus say is the answer to Philip’s question? How does this give us confidence that Jesus is the only way to the Father?
How is it possible that we might do greater things than Jesus did during his earthly ministry? Think about the promise Jesus makes in v15 and beyond.
Why should verses 13 and 14 give us confidence as we pray? How do these verses help us understand the purpose of prayer and of our lives?
Life Group idea Think of a way you can pray together or help the church pray during ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ 25 May – 5 June.
Share the most remarkable story of love between friends you have experienced or heard about?
Try to imagine together what the Father’s love for the Son must be like? How is it different to our love for one another? v9
What do we think of when we hear the words, you must keep my commands or do what I say?
When Jesus asks us to obey his commands, it is not in order to be accepted or saved. Jesus has already done everything for us, we don’t deserve it, it is by grace. God’s undeserved favour and gift in giving his Son! v13 Why is the alternative to grace so hopeless?
In what things is Jesus inviting us to share? v11, 15-17
Jesus’ command to love each is a gift, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to do. How will we be blessed if we obey Jesus’ command?
Find a practical way your group can share the love of Christ with someone else this week.
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye witnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Luke investigated eye witness accounts, of those who had seen and heard what Jesus had said and done. In order that those who read it, like his friend Theophilus might know how reliable and certain the things they had heard about Jesus were. We pray that by listening to these talks you may become convinced of the truth of all that Jesus said and did.
Luke 4:14-21 Christians Against Poverty Money Course Launch
Life Group notes for the week beginning 29th Jan 2017
Luke 4:14-21 and Hebrews 13:8
Some discussion questions from Luke 4 and the Christians Against Poverty talk
Read Luke 4:14-21 and Hebrews 13:8
1. If you had to list the priorities of the Christian church what would they be?
2. From the reading in Luke what surprises or interests you about the quote Jesus reads from Isaiah?
3. In her talk Shirley read Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.’ and said:
“Jesus is the unchanging one. He is constant. He is faithful. We don’t need to worry that God loves us, because he was loving yesterday, he loves us today and will love us forever. We do not need to worry if God will have mercy, because his word tells us His mercies are new every morning and that he will forever be merciful and forgive us.
And if Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, then what about us? What about you and I, the body of Christ; the body of the unchanging one? Do we, as Christ’s church, look like the first church;…Do we display the radical love and compassion of Jesus himself? Can we be accused of being a ‘friend of sinners?’ of hanging out with the wrong crowd? Because that’s what Jesus did.”
Discuss this statement
5. How should our confidence in Christ enable us to live radically different lives?
Pray for one another and for our church, that we might seek to bring people to know Christ and make a difference to those in need. Pray for the CAP Money Course and consider coming along so that you can share it with others.
This week take some time to reflect on how you can ‘proclaim good news to the poor….and help…set the oppressed free through Christ.
Luke 4:16-24 Bible Sunday 2016 Listen or download the talk from Luke 4 by Elaine White.
Questions from Luke 4
Share a verse, book or story from the Bible that has inspired or affected you in some way.
In Luke 4 who does Jesus claim the Old Testament and the Prophets were speaking about? How will knowing this help us as we read the Bible?
See 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
How does Jesus continue to fulfil this prophecy from Isaiah today? You may want to speak about an experience of your own.
Familiarity blinded the people to Jesus’ true identity, “isn’t this Joseph’s Son?”. We can all overlook or underestimate Jesus and often the Bible too. Share how you renew or remind yourself of your relationship with Jesus or of the value of the Bible.
Read Psalm 19 and pray about how you would like the Bible to impact you each day and grow in your love for the Lord.
Listen or download a talk from Luke 15, as Jesus speaks about seeking the lost.
You might like to think about these questions as you read the passage or listen to the talk.
Questions on Luke 15:1-10 from Sunday 11 Sept 2016
Share or think of a time when you went looking for something that was lost.
What objections might people have to us sharing our faith about Jesus?
Who is Jesus telling these stories to and what had upset them so much? v1-3
What encourages you about the stories Jesus told? What do they tell us about Jesus? v4-10
Share your experience of being found by Jesus. If you’ve not had that experience share what has stopped you from knowing Jesus as your saviour.
Find a way to celebrate the amazing news that Jesus has saved you! Think about how we might celebrate this as a church.
Who do you want to speaking to about Jesus?
Luke 16:19-31 Sunday 25 Sept 2016
Listen or download the talk on Luke 16 by Ted Dew.
Questions on Luke 16
1. Do you feel rich or poor?
2. How might Jesus’ story sound simply like the rich are bad and the poor good? What was the difference between the two? Luke 16:27-31
3. How does the mans lack of generosity to Lazarus parallel his feelings toward God? What other passages on generosity could we read? e.g. James 2:15-16, Matt 6:1-4
4. Does the story from Luke 16 frighten you or make you feel thankful? Do you need to do something in response?
5. Looking at the big picture, not just the here and now, how important is the choice to repent and seek God’s grace?
6. Last week sharing God’s love and joy drove us to pray for others. What other motivation are we reminded of this week, especially praying for those who don’t know Jesus?
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move you to repent or give you opportunities to share Jesus with others.
Read the talk and the passage from Sunday 9th Oct 2016.
Questions on Luke 17:11-19
Are you naturally thankful or prone to disappointment or ungratefulness?
How does this miracle compare with what happened in Luke 5:12-16?
What is the surprising outcome of the miracle? See v15,16
What blessing does the man who returned receive, that the others didn’t? v19
What does Jesus expect of those who have received a miracle? See v17-18. Salvation is a miracle, have we acted like the 9 men or the one who returned in our response to Jesus?
If you are a Christian then you have so much to be thankful for, not just God’s daily provisions but also our new spiritual identity, life and gifts in Christ. Share some of God’s gifts that you are most thankful for?
Share a practical way in which you can make giving thanks to God a daily part of your life.
Spend some time giving thanks to God for his goodness to you. You may want to use the words of a Psalm or read Colossians 1:1-23 for inspiration.
Life group notes 20 Nov 2016
Christ the King – Merciful, Sacrificial and Forgiving
Think about how people react to dangerous situations? What is our instinct if we encounter something scary?
What is Jesus’ reaction to those who have put him on the cross? What does it tell us about Jesus?
In v35-39 Jesus is mocked and told to save himself from the cross? What would have happened if he had chosen to save himself?
What does the criminal in v40-42 recognise firstly about himself and about Jesus?
What does the Criminal’s request in v42 show he believes about Jesus?
How do Jesus’ words in v43 challenge the way we think about death?
Give people the chance in your groups to respond in humility before Jesus, maybe ask people to stay behind if they want to ask Jesus to be their King.
Pray to God the Father to help someone you know who is unclear about who Jesus is, to see clearly and turn to him.
The foundation of our faith is the awesome and spectacular God revealed through the Bible. In the Bible God reveals himself to be Father, Son and Spirit. A unity of three persons, united in love and encapsulated by the word Trinity.
When we discover God we meet a Father who has loved his Son eternally. A love which cannot be contained and instead over flows, after all we were created to know this love. The Father’s love is so good it has to be shared! It is only by knowing God that we can make sense of our desires to be part of a community, Facebook or Instagram can’t cut it. No person or thing on earth can satisfy that desire to know God and be known, it is the reason we exist. So if you want to know more listen to one of the talks below and see if you can rediscover God in all his glory!
Sadly talks 3 and 4 aren’t available. but we looked at ‘The Father’s love seen in creation’ from Psalm 19:1-11 and John 17:24-26. Then at how ‘The Son shares through saving’ from John 3:13-21 and 1 John 4:7-12.
Jesus, there is no one like him, no one who comes close, no one who made such outrageous claims and delivered them. There is no one remotely like him. In Mark we hear that the good news is here!
Jesus has influenced history more profoundly than we might care to admit and the good news is that he has opened up the future too. The destiny of those who know him is set and it is more amazing that we could possibly imagine.
The beginning of the Good News – Mark 1:1-13 Listen below or download the talk.
The calling of the Disciples – Mark 1:14-20
Listen below or download the talk
Jesus and the Twelve – Mark 3:7-19
Listen below or download the talk
Jesus’ Family – Mark 3:20-35 Listen below or download the talk
Jesus – The Secret to the Kingdom of God – Mark 4:1-20 Listen below or download the talk
Jesus speaks about the Kingdom – Mark 4:21-34 Listen below or download the talk
Who is this? – Mark 4:35-41 Listen below or download the talk
How much the Lord has done! Mark 5:1-20 Listen below or download the talk
When Jesus meets death – Mark 5:21-43 Listen below or download the talk
A real lack of faith from Mark 6:1-6. Listen below or download the talk