Alive in Christ. Transformed for Mission.

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, April 14)

In a place called Gethsemane, a garden near Jerusalem, Jesus experienced overwhelming sorrow, as he prepared to face great suffering and death on a cross. This week, our passage focuses on his time in the garden, and the three prayers Jesus offered up to his Father in Heaven out of his distress.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:36-46

•As you read, what strikes you the most about this passage? Do you have any questions to clarify about it?

•“Well, what I really want and feel right now is , but that seems way too to ask God for, so I guess I’ll just pray for ” How many of us have had a similar internal dialogue before?
◦What do you think prevents us at times from coming before God with the things we would rather keep bottled up somewhere inside? If you’re angry with someone – should you pray about it? What if you’re angry with God – should you tell Him about it? How would you qualify your answers here?
◦Using this passage as a model, how does Jesus’ words reflect the intimacy of his relationships with both Peter, James & John, as well as with his Father in Heaven?
◦Each time he prays, after expressing his sorrow, what is Jesus’ final word to his Father? Why is this important?

•A few chapters earlier in Matthew (22:37), Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” When you hear these words, do you feel like they leave room to bring your sadness, your anger, your fears, your confusion, your overwhelming disappointment, your boredom to Him, or does He only want to hear about your adoration? Why or why not, and where else in Scripture does it speak to this?

•Temptation is often the word we apply to the kind of sins that we may feel lured toward – such as gluttony, power, or sexual sins. What was the temptation here for Peter, James, and John, and how do you think Jesus felt about their failure? How does this also possibly foreshadow some things to come?

•If it’s okay (or even encouraged) to bring our “less than desirable” emotions or thoughts to Jesus in prayer, what should that also say about bringing these same things to each other in community? What are some specific challenges to this and how might we overcome them? E.g. God is trustworthy always, but are people?

The Book of Ecclesiastes is part of the Bible’s Wisdom Literature, a collection of writings focused on conveying wisdom and knowledge to God’s people. Written by Qoholeth, which can be translated as “Teacher” or “Preacher”, the author is traditionally interpreted to be Solomon, son of David, around 10th Century B.C. Ecclesiastes is known for its unique and provocative language which presents many key themes, including that 1) the world is profoundly broken since the Fall, and 2) true value is found in fearing (or revering) God.

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, March 24)

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 8

•As you read this passage, what verse, idea, or question jumps out at you? What do you think is the central message?

•Wisdom can often seem like a rare commodity in our world. How would you define it? Asking for Wisdom is probably one of the more often requested prayers, but how do you actually recognize it in real life situations? Is it a tool to apply when we have a decision to make, or is it more of a mindset that we cultivate over time? Is age a prerequisite for Wisdom? Why or why not?

•Who is your “Wisdom person” – the person whose “wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance?” (v. 1) What is it about them that conveys Wisdom to you?

•In a fallen world, we have foolish kings and others in authority over us, and yet the Teacher does not ask us to reject their authority or condemn them to their faces.
◦Instead, how does the “wise person” act toward or respond to them, according to this passage?
◦Is this a challenge for you? Why or why not?

•In a world where the righteous get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked get what the righteous deserve (v. 14), the Teacher’s prescription is this: fear (and follow) God, chase wisdom, work hard, and enjoy life… because everything else is vapour. In what way do you think your life could reflect this prescription more? Make this one of your prayer requests for this week.

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, March 3)

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:13-29

•In reading and reflecting on this passage, what are some main themes or central messages you have pulled from it? Are there any specific questions you’d like to ask your House Church about it?

•The word righteous in Scripture does not always refer to one’s moral behaviour; it can also mean “to be in the right” (such as in a legal case). Using this meaning, how do you interpret verses 15-16? What does it mean to be “overly righteous” and why could it be a bad thing?

•Name a situation in life where being right isn’t the most important thing. What might God desire more at these times?

•Though “Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city,” (v. 19) what does the Preacher finally conclude about Wisdom in verses 23-29? Is it the ultimate goal of the Christian? Why or why not? If not, what is?

•Solomon says that in all his searching for meaning, that he has only found “one upright man among a thousand,” (v 28) and even fewer women. (And this from a guy reported to have 700 wives and 300 concubines!) What does the Preacher conclude about the nature of people and righteousness? What does this say about our relationships with each other, and with God?

•At times, we may pray for clarity, wisdom, understanding of things that are cloudy in our lives. How can we use this prayer time to ask God for rest in the midst of uncertainty instead?

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, February 24)

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-12

-At first glance, this passage might seem like a tough nut to crack. What are some questions you have as you read it? What do you think is the main message of this reading?

-Verse 5 says, “It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Have you ever had an experience where someone tried to confront you about something that you did not want to hear or accept as true? Was there a cost to ignoring them? Why do you think we struggle so much with confrontation, both on the giving and receiving end of things?

-C.S. Lewis says in The Problem of Pain: We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Why do you think our emotional pain is more likely to bring about spiritual growth and Wisdom?

-As a member of a spiritual family, what would you find more meaningful: a time of celebrating your successes, or a time of sharing your weaknesses? What do you personally feel you need more of in your life right now?

-When it comes to creating a safe and authentic space for spiritual growth, what do you think is important in a community? What are some practical ways in which your House Church might step in this direction?

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, February 17)

The Book of Ecclesiastes is part of the Bible’s Wisdom Literature, a collection of writings focused on conveying wisdom and knowledge to God’s people. Written by Qoholeth, which can be translated as “Teacher” or “Preacher”, the author is traditionally interpreted to be Solomon, son of David, around 10th Century B.C.

Ecclesiastes is known for its unique and provocative language which presents many key themes, including that 1) the world is profoundly broken since the Fall, and 2) true value is found in fearing (or revering) God.

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

•What is one verse or idea that jumps out at you as you read this passage? Does it connect with a recent life situation, or what kind of meaning does it have for you at this time?

•There are over 2000 verses in the Bible which deal directly with the topic of money and possessions. In fact, Jesus taught more about the pitfalls of money (or the love of it) than almost any other topic. Why do you think this is such an uneasy topic for many of us to discuss?

•Verse 5 says, “As goods increase, so do those who consume them.” In other words, accumulating wealth draws a crowd. Do you think “mob mentality” affects how we view money? Why or why not?

•Most of us can probably identify with Tevye, the hero of the classic musical, Fiddler on the Roof. When confronted with, “Money is the world’s curse,” he’s quick with a reply: “May the Lord smite me with it!” Do you ever feel conflicted over your mutual love and hate of money? Discuss.

•Those who struggle with problematic gambling addiction also tend to chronically struggle with the false belief that they are only one win away from all their problems disappearing. Have you ever fallen victim to this way of thinking? Why do you think this is such a powerful deception? What do you think the impact might be on how society views or helps those in poverty? (see verse 8 again)

•Read Mark 10:17-22. What’s one way as a group we can challenge each other to view our personal finances through “Kingdom eyes?”

HOUSE CHURCH QUESTIONS (based on the Message for Sunday, February 3)

The Book of Ecclesiastes is part of the Bible’s Wisdom Literature, a collection of writings focused on conveying wisdom and knowledge to God’s people. Written by Qoholeth, which can be translated as “Teacher” or “Preacher”, the author is traditionally interpreted to be Solomon, son of David, around 10th Century B.C. Ecclesiastes is known for its unique and provocative language which presents many key themes, including that 1) the world is profoundly broken since the Fall, and 2) true value is found in fearing (or revering) God

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

•What is one verse or idea that jumps out at you as you read this passage? Does it connect with a recent life situation, or what kind of meaning does it have for you at this time?

•What do you think it means to “offer the sacrifice of fools”? Why do you think the Preacher is concerned about it?

•Let your words be few; what are some ways in which our society or culture today encourages the opposite? What might be some costs to this?

•The Bible is full of stories of God’s promises to His people. Have you ever made a promise to God? Did you approach it slowly and thoughtfully, or did you jump right in, perhaps too hastily? What was the outcome?

•What is one thing you’re newly committing to this week, and what is your prayer that goes along with it?

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