42 Days…study questions

42 Days Announce Slide(For those of you outside my church family, here’s a note of explanation:  We are currently doing men’s groups called 42 Days.  It’s a six-week commitment of meeting together, daily Bible reading, and reading a book.  During this time of 42 Days, we are reading an old classic, Improving Your Serve, by Chuck Swindoll.  I will be posting our weekly study questions here on my blog.  Feel free to buy the book and study along with us!)

Reading assignment and questions for week of May 20-27

Chapter thirteen

How do you picture heaven?  What do you think it will be like?

What do you believe about the rewards spoken of in the Bible?

Make a list of the some of the promises of God you hold on to?

If you don’t have many, why not?

Can you be satisfied with God being the one who knows your acts of service, even though nobody else does?

“We see action.  God sees motive.”  Is this good news or bad news for you?

Are you ever motivated by rewards that could come from God?

Are you more motivated by heavenly rewards or temporal rewards?

Do you feel you are being molded into the image of Christ?  How do you know?

Chapter fourteen

Do you believe unselfish living is an “art”?  Why or why not?  

This book was written nearly 40 years ago.  In what ways have you noticed differences between then and now, as you have read through it?

What does it mean to live from “the inside out”?  The author writes that you are a different kind of person, simply because you started and finished reading this book. What do you think he means by that?

Do you do better at “telling” the Gospel or “showing” the Gospel (the story of Jesus)?

Are you motivated by mercy?

In Matthew 25, Jesus says when we serve others, we are serving Him.  What do you think He means by that?

What does it mean to “lose” your life?

What is a bold act of serving you have thought about doing, but said “no” to?  Why?

How could you serve in our church family better?

How could North Point serve better?

 

Advertisements

42 Days…study questions

42 Days Announce Slide(For those of you outside my church family, here’s a note of explanation:  We are currently doing men’s groups called 42 Days.  It’s a six-week commitment of meeting together, daily Bible reading, and reading a book.  During this time of 42 Days, we are reading an old classic, Improving Your Serve, by Chuck Swindoll.  I will be posting our weekly study questions here on my blog.  Feel free to buy the book and study along with us!)

Reading assignment and questions for week of May 13-20.

Chapter ten

What are some of the “perils” of your work?

What are some ways your ego gets over-inflated?

Why do we have such an unwillingness to admit we struggle?

Does God really protect us from bad things?  How?

Serving is often thankless.  How can that lead to bitterness and depression?

Do you still compare yourself to others?  Why?

Why is it so hard to confront the sin of others?  Why is it a cop out to hide behind our own imperfection?

Why is it important to do things for free?

What are the risks in loving and serving?

What is your motive for serving…really?

Chapter eleven

How would you describe yourself?

How would others describe you?

Are you a gentle person?  Why or why not?

Can servanthood be learned?

What does humility actually look like?

Do you receive as graciously as you give?

Why is it important to receive well and let others serve you?

What do we value about servanthood in the church?

How does serving bring joy?

Chapter twelve

What are some examples of suffering for doing right?

What is your response to the stories of “real life” persecution?  (How does it make you feel?)

How does stress affect you?

How did you score on the stress test?  (pgs. 183-185)

What is the purpose in struggle?  

Why doesn’t God eliminate bad things?

42 Days…study questions

42 Days Announce Slide(For those of you outside my church family, here’s a note of explanation:  We are currently doing men’s groups called 42 Days.  It’s a six-week commitment of meeting together, daily Bible reading, and reading a book.  During this time of 42 Days, we are reading an old classic, Improving Your Serve, by Chuck Swindoll.  I will be posting our weekly study questions here on my blog.  Feel free to buy the book and study along with us!)

Reading assignment and questions for week of May 6-13.

Chapter seven

What is the reputation of religious people today?

How do you describe spiritual poverty?

What is the connection between humility and happiness?

How is spiritual helplessness the foundation of a servant heart?

Contrast weakness and gentleness.

How badly do you want righteousness?

What significant difference will the ideas in this chapter have on my life?

Chapter eight

How do you do with hurting people?  Are you drawn or do you run?

Why is mercy rarely demonstrated?

What does it mean to be real?  To be authentic?

What kinds of masks do you wear?

What are some bad habits do you need to break?

Are you at peace with yourself?

Do you build up others?

Have you ever been persecuted for your faith?

Chapter nine

How are you a keeper of the spring?

Do you think things are getting better or getting worse in the world?

How are you living as “salt” in the world?

How are you living as “light” in the world?

Are you different?  Responsible? Influential?

 

42 Days…study questions

42 Days Announce Slide(For those of you outside my church family, here’s a note of explanation:  We are currently doing men’s groups called 42 Days.  It’s a six-week commitment of meeting together, daily Bible reading, and reading a book.  During this time of 42 Days, we are reading an old classic, Improving Your Serve, by Chuck Swindoll.  I will be posting our weekly study questions here on my blog.  Feel free to buy the book and study along with us!)

Reading assignment and questions for week of April 29-May 6.

Chapter Four

What is the connection between forgiveness and servanthood?

What are some of your takeaways from the story of the man who requested to take the punishment of the men who wronged him?

What have you been taught about the “wrath of God”?

How does God forgiving you, make it possible for you to forgive others?

A true servant doesn’t keep score.  Agree or disagree? Why?

What’s the difference between asking for forgiveness and offering your apology?

What’s the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation?

Is there ever a time to stop offering forgiveness?

How is refusing to forgive hypocritical?

Chapter Five

Is it really possible to forget the offense of another?

What’s the difference between forgetting and overlooking?

Are you confident you have not yet arrived?

Have you forgotten what is behind?

Are you actively moving on to what is ahead?

Is there someone or something you are refusing to forget?  What is the cost?

Are you a victim of self-pity?  What is the cost?

Chapter six

Have you ever been a victim of wrong or unhealthy teaching in a church or small group?

How has your thinking been molded or “squeezed” by the world’s way of thinking?

What are some walls or fortresses that have changed in the ways you think?

Are you ever guilty of blaming others or justifying your actions?  What has been the fallout?

What does it mean (practically) to take every thought captive?

What does it mean for Jesus Christ to take charge of our minds?

Do you find your mind being renewed these days?  How? In what ways?

How are you experiencing the power of God in your life?  What evidence do you see?

What masks of hypocrisy are you wearing?  What kind of help do you need to take them off?

42 Days…study questions

42 Days Announce Slide(For those of you outside my church family, here’s a note of explanation:  We are currently doing men’s groups called 42 Days.  It’s a six-week commitment of meeting together, daily Bible reading, and reading a book.  During this time of 42 Days, we are reading an old classic, Improving Your Serve, by Chuck Swindoll.  I will be posting our weekly study questions here on my blog.  Feel free to buy the book and study along with us!)

Reading assignment and questions for week of April 22-29.

Chapter 2

Re-read the story on page 16.  How have you been guilty of buying $3 worth of God?

What were/are your dreams for success?

Read 1 Peter 5:5-7.  Who are the people you respect and turn to for wisdom?  How do you struggle with humility? What are some things you worry about?

What’s the difference between self-esteem and selfishness?

What do you learn about yourself from the story of Adam and Eve?

Page 22.  How are you guilty of being dogmatic?  Judging? Argumentative? Stubborn?

How do you define unselfishness?

On page 27, four characteristics are contrasted.  Evaluate yourself on all four (getter/giver…grudge holder/forgiver…scorekeeper/forgetter…superstar/servant)

Chapter 3

On pages 29-30, Swindoll lists a number of different philosophies.  Which of those philosophies have influenced the way you live your life the most?

Do you truly care for people around you?  How do they know it?

Do you struggle with competitive tendencies?  In what ways?

Which of the passages on pages 31 and 32 challenge your thinking the most?  Why?

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 again.

How do you feel about the command to give and serve anonymously?

Are you a generous person?  In what ways? If not, why not?

Do you generally serve and give without being asked?  What needs to change?

What is your faith “costing” you?

Are you really serious about being a follower of Jesus?  What is holding you back?

Theology 101

We just finished a thing called 42 Days.

It was a six-week journey of reading a book, making a once-a-week meeting, daily Bible reading, and a practice of general personal discipline that a group of 45-50 North Point men made together. It was a good thing. We’ll do it again, I’m sure.

But it wasn’t easy. Especially the book.

We chose to read “Crazy Love”, by Francis Chan. It wasn’t the most difficult read I have ever done. As a matter of fact, his style is easy to process and the content was pretty straightforward. But what he said didn’t sit too well.

Nobody likes to be called out for being a slug. Especially a spiritual slug. And especially not a bunch of men who have to actually look each other in the eyes and “fess up” to falling short. Lets just say our weekly meetings were not some kind of brag session on how great each of us are doing with following the commands of Christ…

For most of the guys, it was the first time in a long while…or even the first time ever… that there was any public owning of personal spiritual shortcomings or weaknesses. I can’t speak for women, but I know this is a difficult thing for most men (though I sense men and women are probably far more similar in this area than Bible scholars and cultural anthropologists think).

So here’s what I’m thinking today: How do you face your failures? How do you navigate through the flood waters of mistakes and shortcomings and willful disobedience to the statutes of a holy God? How do you stare down the man or woman in the mirror when you know the real story behind the public personna?

According to God’s word, no one is righteous…no one does good…everyone falls short of God’s standards…. We learn from the Master’s own mouth that the beginning point of a right response to God is to admit our spiritual bankruptcy…and from the writings of the Apostle Paul, we are taught that the path to spiritual strength is through the embracing of our weakness.

Hey…nobody ever said the “logic” of the Kingdom wouldn’t be counter-intuitive!

One of the boldest statements made in the Bible is by Paul in Romans 6:1-2…

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1, 2 NIV)

Should we keep sinning, keep disobeying, keep living selfishly, keep willfully living contrary to God’s revealed will for our lives, keep ignoring the needs of others and the good of the Kingdom….and then say, “No problem, I know God will forgive me!”???

To put a modern spin on Paul’s answer to his own hypothetical question… “Are you an idiot, or what?” No way are we to take advantage of God’s compassionate love for us. No way are we to deliberately and selfishly impose on his gracious benevolence towards us.

But here’s what we can do: Let your sin and brokenness and pride and laziness and obstinance and hard-heartedness and struggles with integrity be a constant reminder that your sufficiency and worth and wholeness will never be earned or deserved…nor will it ever be perfect…and that without your failures, you would never be driven to your knees for help.

Or with gratitude.

Only at Men’s Whataburger

So I’m sitting here enjoying (?) some 84 degree weather in Huntington Beach, waiting to make the three-hour drive up to the camp…through Southern California Friday work traffic. Mmmm… Sounds like fun.

Still looking forward to cool mountain temps. I will not be a particularly happy camper if…

Anyway, I thought I would weigh in on the North Point Raccoonapalooza (for all my friends who reside outside the epicenter of my world, we found out we have a whole tribe of raccoons that have set up shop in the drop ceiling of the NP Grand Ballroom and Events Center).

These gnarly little rodent-bear hybrids are going to end up costing NP a “raccoon-load” of cash, when all I said and done with the catching, relocation, clean-up, restoration, and replacement plan. Kingdom stewardship never smelled so gamey.

Back to the Whataburger connection…

Every week, at our Thursday World Problem-solving Caucus, we are joined by Mr. Luster. He’s not really part of our group, but since we think he’s related to Marshall…and they’re both die-hard Razorback fans from Arkansas…we always let him come over and give us our weekly dose of Southern wit and wisdom.

…and hope we learn some more about Marshall’s hidden lineage.

Here was this week’s serving:

(Mr. Luster) Well, good mornin’ Reverand. Where’s old’ Ellis today?

(me) We’re not sure. We think he’s in Mexico. But that’s not important. We’ve got a couple of questions for you. Do you have raccoons in Arkansas?

(Mr. Luster) Yes, sir.

(me) So what do you do with them? Do you trap them and relocate them like we do in Lewisville?

(Mr. Luster) *look of bewilderment*

(Mr. Luster) No. We kill them and eat them. They taste just like squirrel.

(me) oh.

I love Texas…reason #78:

I get to have friends from Arkansas.

20120914-141938.jpg