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Discussion Guide: Anger Must Fall

Discussion Guide: Anger Must Fall

During the first part of the Easter season, we’ll be looking at the story of David and Goliath to understand the power of the resurrection in our lives. Rather than living in fear, complacency, anger, and rejection, God has opened up a new way for us to live in him. Through God, the “goliaths” of our lives no longer have the power over us. This week, we’ll look at how God, through Christ, has set us free from anger.

 

Icebreaker

 What is a pet peeve of yours? Why does it bother you?

 

Scripture Reading

1 Samuel 17:25-30; James 1:19; Mark 10:13-16

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do people get angry? While there might be different causes, what ties instances of anger together?

Read 1 SAMUEL 17:25-30

  1. Think about this story from the perspective of Eliab. Why would he get angry? Is he justified in his anger?
    Leader’s Note: If the group is not familiar with Eliab’s story it make by good to review 1 Samuel 16.
  2. Thinking back on previous week’s conversations, where else do you see anger in 1 Samuel 17, or where might you imagine it to be present? How do those forms of anger compare with Eliab’s anger?
  3. Can anger be “wrong”? What makes a particular instance of anger unjustifiable? What makes it justifiable?

Read James 1:19 & Mark 10:13-16

  1. Why do you think James cautions against anger? Can one control the speed at which they get angry? How?
    Leader’s Note: It may be a good chance to invite people to share their experiences of controlling or working with their anger. What strategies have people used to combat a quick temper?
  2. Is it okay for follower’s of Christ to become angry? Under what circumstances?
  3. How should anger be appropriately expressed as a follower of Christ? Have you ever seen examples of this done well?

Diving Deeper: Get Angry

Reflecting on the injustices of the black experience in the United States, Joshua L. Lazard, the C. Eric Lincoln Minister at Duke Chapel, writes  

A space must exist in the pulpits, with sermons that acknowledge anger and righteous indignation, as well as in the curricula of Christian education departments. And yes, even in the sacred spaces of a mid-week bible study.”

  1. What do you think of this sentiment? Why is it necessary to create spaces in Christian community which embrace righteous indignation?
  2. Take this time to talk about some things that make you righteously angry. How can you bring those feelings to God, and what outlets are available that can help you process and act productively on those feelings?

Helpful Resources

The Reunion Team

Discussion Guide: Complacency Must Fall

Discussion Guide: Complacency Must Fall

During the first part of the Easter season, we’ll be looking at the story of David and Goliath to understand the power of the resurrection in our lives. Rather than living in fear, complacency, anger, and rejection, God has opened up a new way for us to live in him. Through God, the “goliaths” of our lives no longer have the power over us. This week, we’ll look at how God, through Christ, has set us free from complacency.

 

Icebreaker

If you could only have one what would you choose: a really comfortable life or a really meaningful life? Why?

Scripture Reading

1 Samuel 17:2-3 & 20-24; 1 Samuel 5

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you define a good life? How does comfort factor into that definition?

Read 1 Samuel 5.

Leader’s Note: The ark of the covenant was a large chest through which God would allow himself to be specially present. In the previous chapter, Israel brought the ark into battle thinking it would ensure victory, but they were defeated.

  1. Put yourself in the Philistine’s shoes, how would you perceive of the God of Israel based on these events?
  2. Why do you think God would do this to the Philistines? What does it say about God’s character and relationship with Israel?
    Leader’s Note: The ark was part of God’s special covenant with Israel. God’s covenant with them made it possible for his holy presence to exist among them, even when they strayed. The Philistines were not part of this covenant, did not obey God’s laws, and thus could not be found acceptable to God at that time.

Read 1 Samuel 17:2-3 & 17: 20-24.

  1. There is a month and a half between these two sets of verses. Put yourself in the Philistines’ shoes again, how would you perceive Israel in these verses, especially in light of 1 Samuel 5?
  2. Now put yourself in Israel’s shoes and think back on the stories of 1 Samuel 5. How would that make you perceive God? What would you be expecting of God as you sit on the battle lines?
  3. Considering expensive it was/is to maintain an army, why hasn’t Saul ordered the men to fight? Better yet, why hasn’t he ordered them to flee?
  4. While a battlefield might be far from comfortable in the traditional sense, how might the people of Israel be choosing their personal comfort over their purpose?
  5. What makes David’s attitude so different from the rest of Israel. How has his experience with God prepared him for this moment.
    Leader’s Note: It may be good to peruse 1 Samuel 16-17 as a group to understand why David refuses the status quo.


    Read the Following Quote.

“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.” – Thomas Merton

  1. What do you think of this statement and how do you see it playing out in the story of Israel in 1 Samuel 17?
  2. Do you see the dynamic mentioned in the quote in your own life? In what way?
  3. This week’s message discussed the idea of letting go of complacency and choosing to open ourselves up to God’s call on our lives. What do you think of this idea? What excites you/scares you about it?
  4. Have you ever felt like you’ve heard God’s call in your life? What was happening at the time? What did God call you to do? Did you do it? What was it like?
  5. We all struggle to hear from God at different times in our lives but sometimes we grow complacent in that silence. What could you do this week to open yourself up to God’s voice and call in your life?

Diving Deeper: Losing Your Life

Read Luke 9:23-25

  1. How do you think most people try to “save” their lives? In other words, if they “lost everything,” what would they have lost?
  2. What do you think it means to “lose your life” for Jesus’ sake?
  3. In your own walk of faith, what areas have you found it difficult to lose control of (i.e. where is it hard to let “Jesus take the wheel” in your life? :p) Why is that?
  4. What might it look like to try to lose your life for Jesus this week? How might Jesus’ saving grace meet you anew in that moment?

Helpful Resources

The Reunion Team

Our Prayer This Mother’s Day

Our Prayer This Mother’s Day

THE WIDE SPECTRUM OF MOTHERING

– By Amy Young

 

“To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year–we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stain–we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment—we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms–we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children–we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children–we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year–we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother–we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood–we are better for having you in our midst

To those who have aborted children–we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and moth ering your own children–we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who stepparent–we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be–we grieve with you

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year–we grieve and rejoice with you

To those who placed children up for adoption–we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising–we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.”

The Reunion Team

Discussion Guide: Rejection Must Fall

Discussion Guide: Rejection Must Fall

During the first part of the Easter season, we’ll be looking at the story of David and Goliath to understand the power of the resurrection in our lives. Rather than living in fear, complacency, anger, and rejection, God has opened up a new way for us to live in him. Through God, the “goliaths” of our lives no longer have the power over us. This week, we’ll look at how God, through Christ, has set us free from rejection.

 

Icebreaker

What is one of the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done? Why did you do it?

 

Scripture Reading

1 Samuel 17:20-53; Hebrews 13:1-81 Samuel 16:1-7; 17:26-31; 17:38-40,45-47: Hebrews 4:14-16

 

Discussion Questions

 

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-7 & 1 Samuel 17:26-31

  1. Think about these passages from the perspective of Eliab. How do you think his experience of rejection in Chapter 16 shaped his response to David in Chapter 17?
  2. Now, think about this passage from the perspective of David. How did he experience rejection?
  3. How do you think most people experience rejection? Is it through large traumatic experiences, or more mundane forms of rejection? What forms of rejection do you think are most common?
  4. This weeks sermon discussed the dynamic of “rejected people rejecting people” and creating cycles of rejection. Have you ever seen or experienced this in your own life?

Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37

  1. Saul initially rejects David based on his appearance and age. Do you see these forms of rejection alive and well in our culture? How so?
  2. How does David respond to Saul’s rejection? How has his relationship to God shaped his response?
  3. Where have you felt God’s acceptance of you? Why do you think it can be hard to experience this acceptance?

Read 1 Samuel 17:38-40, 45-47

  1. David’s speech to Goliath is rooted in his belief about who God is in relation to Israel. Who do you believe about God’s faithfulness, especially in relation to you and your community of faith?
  2. What truths about God’s acceptance do you see in this story? How does it relate to God’s acceptance of us through Christ?
  3. How might this story played differently if David allowed himself to succumb to rejection? Why is acceptance so powerful?
  4. What areas of your life do you feel rejected in? Why? How does the Good news of God in Jesus respond to those areas of rejection?

Diving Deeper: Christ Our High Priest

Read HEBREWS 4:14-16

The author of the book of Hebrews explores the idea of Jesus as our high priest. This idea is rooted in the dual concepts of Temple worship and ritual purity. During early expressions of Jewish worship, God’s holy presence was uniquely present in the Temple. As most people were sinful or impure, God could not accept or allow them to be in direct contact with him. As such, a high priest would serve as a ritually pure stand-in for the people of Israel. This person was ritually cleansed so God could allow them into His presence. Once their, the high priest could repent on behalf of the people and ritually absolve them in God’s presence.

  1. How does God’s acceptance of Jesus relate to God’s acceptance of you? Why does that even matter?
  2. Verse 15 discusses how Jesus empathizes with us in our struggles and knows our temptations. How is empathy important for helping cultivate our acceptance of others?
  3. The final verse talks about approaching God directly. In the analogy to the high priest, the author of Hebrews says that because of Jesus, we can now go directly to God ourselves and not fear his rejection. Is this a truth you feel like you live into? If this idea is hard to accept, why?

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Helpful Resources

The Reunion Team

Discussion Guide: Fear Must Fall

Discussion Guide: Fear Must Fall

During the first part of the Easter season, we’ll be looking at the story of David and Goliath to understand the power of the resurrection in our lives. Rather than living in fear, complacency, anger, and rejection, God has opened up a new way for us to live in him. Through God, the “goliaths” of our lives no longer have the power over us. This week, we’ll look at how God, through Christ, has set us free from fear.

 

Icebreaker

What was something you were afraid of as a child? Why was it scary, and how did you overcome that fear (if you did)?

 

Scripture Reading

1 Samuel 17:20-53; Hebrews 13:1-8

 

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you define fear? How do most people experience it in their everyday lives?
    LEADER NOTE: Fear is not necessarily about big scary things, try to think of some of the more mundane ways fear manifests itself in our lives (e.g. fear of speaking up, fear of failure, etc.).

Read 1 Samuel 17:20-31

  1. How has fear affected the army of Israel in this part of the story? What affects is it having on them?
  2. How have you seen fear affect you in your life? Do you feel like you’ve ever missed out on anything because of fear?
  3. How is David responding to the situation? Do you think this is an appropriate way to approach situations that are fearful?
    LEADER NOTE: In this section, David is in an exploratory role. He is examining the people’s fears and assessing the situation.

Read 1 Samuel 17:32-40

  1. What motivation does David give for his courageous behavior? Why is this response significant for our understanding of God?
  2. Have you ever known someone who seemed “fearless”? Why do you think they were that way? Do you think their justification for their fearlessness similar to or different from David’s?
    LEADER NOTE: David is not just confident in his own abilities, but in the ability and promises of God.
  3. Why do you think the author includes the section about David not using Saul’s armor? What is this communicating about David’s trust in God?
  4. How do you respond as you enter into fearful experiences? How does God factor into those moments?

Read 1 Samuel 17:41-53

  1. David face-off with Goliath is dramatic and could be framed as an expression of David’s fighting prowess. How does David himself frame the encounter? Why is that important?
  2. What would it look like for you to face some of the areas you experience fear? What truths do you believe about who God is that can help you in conquering fear?
    LEADER NOTE: Invite people to think about and share verses or sections of Scripture that relate to what God has done for us, and how God continues to support us in difficult times.  

Diving Deeper: FEAR CONQUERED IN CHRIST

Read HEBREWS 13:1-8

In this passage from Hebrews, the author is signing off his letter to the church. These final admonishments are meant to encourage the readers to pursue God wholeheartedly considering what God in Christ has done for them. The author goes out of his way to quote Scriptures to combat fear. This section explores why that is significant.

  1. How would you describe this section of Scriptures? Is it just a list of rules, practical advice, or something else?
  2. How do you think the idea of fear is alive in the various areas the author mentioned (i.e. money, sex, hospitality to strangers/prisoners). Do people still feel fear and anxiety about this today? Do you?
  3. The author goes out of his way to mention these verses of Scripture. What message are they conveying and why is that message significant today?
  4. What fears do you find it hard to trust into God’s presence? Why is it hard to trust God in these areas? Take some time to discuss with the group and pray about it.

Helpful Resources

The Reunion Team

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