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Prayer: The Cure For Selfishness (Luke 22:39-46)

September 7, 2015

If you would like a refresher on the sermon, the sermon audio and notes can be found at   http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21   .

Suggested Sermon-Based Discussion Questions:

1.  How has prayer helped you grow in following Christ, in general?

2.  How has prayer helped you avoid falling into a sinful temptation?  Please share a past situation.

3.  How has prayer helped you avoid falling into a selfish action and motivated you into doing a selfless action?  Please share a past situation.

4.  Have you ever had a time where you failed in prayer because of an intense sorrowful time in your life?  Have you ever had a time where you overcame an intense sorrowful time in your life through consistent prayer?  Please share what happened?  If you failed…what happened?  If you succeeded…what happened?

5.  Have you cultivated a lifestyle of consistent prayer to God?  Or is prayer more of a reactionary event when bad things happen?  The sermon suggested 5 things you can do to help you.  Which of these do you think can help?  Or is there something else not listed you can do?

6.  For you personally, is prayer more like Cinderella or Rosie the Riveter?  In your opinion, for your Fellowship Group, is prayer more like Cinderella or Rosie the Riveter?  What steps can you take so that prayer becomes more like Rosie and less like Cinderella?

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Servant Greatness [Luke 22:24-30]

August 24, 2015

If you would like a refresher on the sermon, you may listen to it at    http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21   .  Sorry, no notes this time.

Sermon Based Group Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you look down on certain jobs that are more service-oriented?  What about the people who do those jobs?  Do you look down on them because they are in that type of job?
  2. Why do you think that society views greatness and success in terms of something that is more white-collar and managerial?  What do you think the Bible say about what is successful and what is great?  (You may use our particular passage or another passage.)
  3. One thing is for certain, Jesus views the servant-hearted person as the one being great and successful, regardless of whether you have a blue-collar or white-collar occupation.  Why do you think this from what we see in this passage and/or other passages of Scripture?
  4. Why is it hard to live the role of a servant in our regular lifestyle, and easier to live the role of a more bossy person.  (If you don’t have this issue, then how did you come to the place where you live naturally with a servant heart?)
  5. What about treasures in heaven?  What have you been taught about them or have read about them in your devotional times?
  6. How do you feel about the fact that, according to the New Testament, those who are more faithful believers will receive greater treasures in heaven?  How should this impact you in your life as a follower of Christ?
  7. What does being servant-hearted look like as a boss of a small or large company?  How does being a boss/leader, but yet a servant not contradict?  Again, what can it look like in your company/workplace?  Any examples you have seen from other Christian leaders in the marketplace?

Signs of the End Times

August 4, 2015
by

Passion for His Kingdom

“Signs of the End Times”

Going Deeper: Luke 21:25-38

Listen to the Message here: http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21

Discussion Questions

Share where you think we are in the (chronology) of the bible?  (somewhere between the temple’s destruction and the Second Coming).  What does that mean to you?

Are you ready for the “end times”?  How do you think we should be ready for the end times?

Luke’s gospel does not look so much at the “signs” but stresses the “character of those of that last generation.”

What does a Christian who is ready for the end times look like?  How can we get there?

Review the signs of the end times—

  1. the powers of the heavens will be shaken
  2. distress and confusion of the nations
  3. roaring of the sea
  4. fear the people
  5. world preached Mk 13:10
  6. (lawlessness) 1 Th. 2:9
  7. apostasy 1 Tim 4:1
  8. antichrist  2 Th. 2:3
  9. tribulation  Matt. 24:21
  10. sudden, unexpected, ubiquitous (universal) Return of Christ

Take a glance at our present status in history and discuss whether there are signs that are observable today.

Discuss how we can “sharpen the edge” spiritually and prepare ourselves well for the events of the end times.

Discuss ways in which you can carry out the following:

1. Reading books and testimonies about Christians who have lived through times of intense persecution

2. Engage with the world with the Christian witness (Prepare yourselves!)

3. Get Tough!  Join in short-term missions.  Get training for evangelism. Take a group hiking or backpacking

4. Showing Compassion (Are we to build an underground bunker with food and ammo?)  Rather we should be like Corrie Ten Boom rescuing Jews while under intense persecution.

5. Close-Knit Discipleship: Are you in a discipleship relationship?

Watch the Band of Brothers, Easy Company, and see how close those men had become in the heat of battle.

How can we build a close-knit community of disciples?

Beginning of the End

July 28, 2015
by

Passion for His Kingdom

“Beginning of the End”

Going Deeper: Luke 21:7-24

Listen to the Message here: http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21

Share how you or others have been in some way persecuted as a Christian.  What was it like?  What was the reason?  What made you (or them) be able to stand?

Have you ever run a marathon or sport event where you had to be in great shape?  How did you feel during this time?  Ready, pumped, strong?  What happens when someone steps out on the track without this preparation?

This is what many Christians try to do.  Jesus warns us to be prepared.  Discuss this passage below and talk about how we can best be prepared: “But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once.

So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.”

Luke 22:34-36 (Msg)

How are we too soft as Christians?  List ways that we can become battle-hardened while tender in spirit and ready to testify.

Discuss “Persecution—It’s Happening Now”  How we can have solidarity with the Christians who are being persecuted in the Middle East?  What is solidarity exactly?  List things that we can do.

Read the latest NY Times article: “Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East”   http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/magazine/is-this-the-end-of-christianity-in-the-middle-east.html?referrer=

Go to http://www.persecution.com and read some of the stories.

Go to most recent article:  Garissa Christians told ‘worship here and you’ll die’

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/26/world/garissa-color/index.html

Reflect

1. How are we to testify to Christ right in the midst of persecution? (Luke 21:13-15).  How will the Holy Spirit help us?  How did Paul do this?  What was the result of Paul’s testifying?

2. What do you interpret this bible passage: (Acts 14:22)?  “They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”

“All or Nothing” Lesson from Widow’s Offering

July 13, 2015
by

Passion for His Kingdom

“All or Nothing”

Going Deeper: Luke 21:1-4

Outline–

1.  Misconstrued Assumptions

2.  Position of Authority (of God’s Word in Your Life)

3.  Holding to Biblical Convictions while Living in Babylon

Listen to the Message here: http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21

Discussion Questions

Share some of the common misconstrued assumptions about this passage:

“”It’s not about how much”

“It doesn’t matter how much I give; God looks at the heart.”

“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7)

“God is happy with my 10%”

Provide other ideas regarding what God’s plan for generous giving does:

Empowers?

Enables?

Authenticates?

Invites participation?

Grows Faith?

In the same way that we are to align ourselves with Christ’s Kingdom Order in the area of our finances so we are, no less, to align ourselves in the area of our public moral convictions.

Discuss with your fellowship the Pastoral Team’s response to the Supreme Court decision:

CCCTO Pastoral Team stands on biblical conviction in stating that although the Supreme Court has passed this decision (on a narrow 5-4 vote), it does not shake the Christian Church from its sound and proven moral foundation, a divine foundation, immovable, that cannot be overturned by human vote.

We state unequivocally that marriage is divinely designed (not humanly defined) by God alone, established in human nature and demonstrated in the logic of procreation.

In fact, we state that homosexual marriage from the perspective of the authority of Scripture is unequivocally immoral and sinful.

This is not a statement against homosexual relations in particular, but rather against any sexual relation that is outside the bounds of a man and a woman in lifelong covenant marriage.

We embrace persons with homosexual tendencies and guide them into a lifestyle of sexual integrity just as we do any person struggling with sexual urges, whether hetero- or homo-sexual.

Reflect on the following points of application for both your offerings and your opinion about homosexual marriage:

1. Are you aligning yourself with Christ’s Kingdom order or this world’s order?

2. Are you determining your convictions based on biblical authority?

3. Are you sharing your convictions with your fellow colleagues, church members and children?

4. Are you modeling your marriage affection, intimacy and love for your children (and others) to see and experience?

Ambitions of the Celebrity Pastor (Luke 20:41-47)

July 5, 2015

If you would like to hear the sermon and look over the notes, you may do this at… http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21

Sermon-Based Fellowship Discussion Questions:

1.  Describe a time when you put on some kind of official uniform in public.  How did people treat you compared to when you wore your regular every day clothes?

2.  What was the message about?  Please explain it in your own words in a few sentences.

3.  What did you learn more about God from this sermon and Scripture passage?

4.  What did you learn more about humanity from this sermon and Scripture passage?

5.  What did you learn more about yourself from this sermon and Scripture passage?

6.  Do you struggle with the temptations of worldly pride, power, prestige, and possessions?  What I mean by “struggle” is if your focus on Jesus and His Kingdom values is ever dwarfed by any of these things?  Explain your struggle.

7.  What have you yourself, or others in your fellowship, found helpful in fighting off the temptations of falling into the negative aspects of pride, power, prestige, and possessions?  How have you or others found practical ways in putting Jesus first always?

8.  Have you acknowledged that Jesus is not just a godly man, but actually the Christ, and God in human form, and placed your faith in Him as your Savior and Lord?  If not, are pride, prestige, power, and possessions getting in the way?  Are any of these really worth it in light of eternity?

Boredom in Heaven — Pleasure in Hell? Misconstruing the Afterlife

June 30, 2015
by

“Boredom in Heaven — Pleasure in Hell?”

Misconstruing the Afterlife

Going Deeper: Luke 20:27-39

Outline–

1.  Jesus’ Credibility Challenged

2.  Battle of Scripture

3.  Two Ages: Earth and Heaven

4.  Resurrection Underlined in Whole of Scripture

Listen to the Message here: http://english.cccto.org/media.php?pageID=21

Discussion Questions

Study the basis for the levirate marriage (marriage of a wife to her brother-in-law (the older (brother) spouse who died),  Deut. 25:5-10.

How were these Sadducees trying to challenge Jesus credibility?  How would their argument “disprove” life after death?  How does this argument pose a challenge to Jesus?

If Jesus accepts their interpretation of this “marriage” then that would undermine the fact of the resurrection that the Pharisees taught.  If Jesus believed in this rite of this “marriage” of Moses and there truly was an afterlife and resurrection, that would be morally scandalous (in an otherwise perfect eternity). “…Whose wife will the woman be?”  The contradiction precludes the possibility of an afterlife.

What is the fundamental weakness of the Samaritan paradox in extrapolating “ideas” from this age to the “reality” of the Age to come?  Compare other modern “paradoxes”:   “If God is omnipotent, then he can create a rock too heavy for himself to carry,” therefore, God cannot exist.  Or, “If God created the universe and everything in it, then who created God?” Therefore, God cannot exist.

Discuss what heaven will be like without marriage or “romantic love.”  What is the problem for most moderns with this concept of heaven?  How would you communicate the truth about romantic love, intimacy and ecstasy to people?

If God created “romantic love” for us in this world, would He create anything less for us in that world?  Just imagine what manifold expressions of love He has created for us in heaven that far surpass romantic love in this world!  In fact, romantic love (along with its intimacies and ecstasies) is only a foretaste of the love that we will experience with God and with each other.   As “children of God” will we not find heaven a thousand times more “fulfilling” than we find the pleasures on earth?  Discuss Eugene Peterson’s quote:  “[Those in the next Age] will have better things to think about, if you can believe it. All ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God.”

Tim Keller states that one of the biggest obstacles for moderns is the loss of freedom to have sex outside of marriage.  Discuss this quote: “I’ve heard people say, “I’m checking out Christianity, but I also understand Christians can’t do this and the Bible says you’re supposed to do that. You’re supposed to love the poor or you’re supposed to give up sex outside of marriage. I can’t accept that.” So people want to come to Christ with a list of conditions.

But the real question is this: Is there a God who is the source of all beauty and glory and life, and if knowing Christ will fill your life with his goodness and power and joy, so that you would live with him in endless ages with his life increasing in you every day? If that’s true, you wouldn’t say things like, “You mean, I have to give up ___ (like sex or something else).”

Let’s say you have a friend who is dying of some terrible disease. So you take him to the doctor and the doctor says, “I have a remedy for you. If you just follow my advice you will be healed and you will live a long and fruitful life, but there’s only one problem: while you’re taking my remedy you can’t eat chocolate.” Now what if your friend turned to you and said, “Forget it. No chocolate? What’s the use of living? I’ll follow the doctor’s remedy, but I will also keep eating chocolate.”

If Christ is really God, then all the conditions are gone. To know Jesus Christ is to say, “Lord, anywhere your will touches my life, anywhere your Word speaks, I will say, “Lord, I will obey. There are no conditions anymore.” If he’s really God, he can’t just be a supplement. We have to come to him and say, ‘Okay, Lord, I’m willing to let you start a complete reordering of my life.’”

What are some of the implications (applications) of this teaching of a marriage-less heaven for married people today?   How are they to cherish the gift of love, intimacy and union in this age?  How do couples often take for granted the gift of intimacy, unity and love on this side?

What are some of the implications of Jesus’ teaching for those who are single?  Paul and Jesus, as well as other great Christians like Augustine, were willing to forgo marriage and romantic love because of their love and passion for Christ and His Kingdom in this life and in view of the promise of a far greater union, intimacy and love in the next life.