Skip to content

Frozen Lesson #2

“Frozen”

Deal with Sin 

Matthew 3:1-6

Luke 3:1-14; 14:12-14

(January 14-20, 2018)

Proteus: My shame and guilt confounds me.

Forgive me, Valentine: if hearty sorrow

Be a sufficient ransom for offence,

I tender ‘t here; I do as truly suffer

As e’er I did commit.

Valentine: Then I am paid;

And once again I do receive thee honest.

In Shakespeare’s play Two Gentlemen of Verona, the character Proteus announces to his good friend Valentine that he intends to perform an evil and unjust act against a character very close to Valentine. The announcement violates the bond of friendship shared by Proteus and Valentine. However, after being confronted by Valentine, Proteus not only recognizes his sin, but also repents. As seen from the quote above, Proteus’ guilt leads him to seek forgiveness. Valentine is convinced that Proteus’ repentance is genuine and is quick to forgive him.

We are all similar to Proteus in that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, the good news, as explored further in this lesson, is that we can all be “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Have you repented and received the forgiveness that is freely available from God?

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. Have you ever been caught red-handed doing something wrong, whether it was a lie, breaking a law, violating a policy at work or something similar? Did you confess your wrong or try to hide it? How did you get past it and put it behind you?

 

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Frozen – Deal with Sin”.

Watch Online

Today we need a prophet, because the subject matter is that important. One of the reasons our faith gets frozen is because we don’t want to deal with sin. We need a prophet.

There is a difference between a priest and a prophet. A priest speaks for humans to God in privacy. I have people all the time ask me, “Can you pray to God for me, you have a direct line.” I have Verizon just like you. A prophet speaks for God to humans in public.

Priests wiped sins from the people. Prophets point out sin. A prophet’s job was to point out sin so that we could start again.

Read Matthew 3:1-6 and Luke 3:1-6 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. John the Baptist was a prophet who brought “a message from God” (Luke 3:2) to the people. Based on Matthew 3:2 and Luke 3:3, what was John’s message?

 

  1. How would you describe repentance? Explain how being convicted of sin and repenting enables us to turn to God and be forgiven (Luke 3:3).

 

  1. As explained in the passages noted above, John preached at and baptized people in the Jordan River. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel had to cross the Jordan River to be free from bondage in Egypt (Joshua 3). How is repentance and baptism today like Israel crossing the Jordan River?

 

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Frozen – Deal with Sin”.

Watch Online

“What do we do?” Asking that question reveals that they were convicted.

Let’s just pause. Have you ever asked that? Have you ever realized, “I am lost. I am pretty sure that if today was the day of judgment I would be on the out. What do I need to do?”

So he says if you have two tunics, share with him who has none. That is what John shouts out from the banks of the river. Jesus echoed these words.

Read Luke 3:7-14 and 14:12-14 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. As crowds came to hear John’s message, he called them a “brood of snakes!” Explain how being convicted of sin can lead to true repentance. How is John’s message similar to the popular saying today, “No pain, no gain”?

 

  1. How does John explain the difference between a religion and a relationship in Luke 3:8? Explain how going through the motions of a religion can lull people into thinking they are right with God, when true repentance is really necessary.

 

  1. Based on John’s message in Luke 3:10-14 and Jesus’ message in Luke 14:12-14, explain how good works and generosity should be outward signs of a person’s true repentance.

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. After hearing John’s message of repentance, many people in Luke 3:10-14 were convicted of their sin and asked, “What should we do?” People who were similarly convicted of their sin by Peter’s message of repentance in Acts 2:37-38 also asked, “Brothers, what should we do?” If you have not repented of your sin and received God’s forgiveness, what should you do?

 

  1. Explain how John’s answers to different people in Luke 3:10-14 are similar, yet also unique, to each person’s circumstances. If you have repented and received God’s gift of salvation, what should you do with your resources, time, gifts and talents?

 

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study

If you have time during your Small Group or you want to study more about sin and your need to repent, read and consider the following passages:

  • Luke 1:34-45
  • Mark 10:21-22
  • Matthew 6:24
  • Acts 2:37-39

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

Frozen Lesson.2

Frozen Lesson #1

“Frozen”
Forgiveness – Seek Forgiveness

(January 8-14, 2018)

God commends groaning but forbids grumbling. What’s the difference? In a nutshell it’s this: Groaning is complaining to God; grumbling is complaining about God. Groaning happens to God’s face. Grumbling happens behind God’s back.

Grumbling is also contagious. People with a negative grumbling spirit will inevitably look for other grumblers to join them. In one study, researchers had two people sit in chairs and look at each other and not say a word. If one of them was in a negative mood, at the end of the five minutes the other person would have grown significantly more negative, just from sitting near the first negative person. In grumbling I exaggerate my suffering to justify a negative attitude. In grumbling, I make my irritations and inconveniences known to everyone around me.

But in groaning, I speak directly to God about what troubles me. I hold nothing back.

In human relationships, if there’s a problem between us, groaning means I commit to talk to you about us, not talk about you to somebody else.

  • I’d Like You Better If You Were More Like Me”, John Ortberg

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. When you need to forgive someone, do you think it is easier to grumble or groan? Which do you think is more effective at leading to a good relationship with the person you want to forgive?

 

Read the following excerpt aloud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Frozen – Seek Forgiveness”.

Watch Online

In the OT – the belief was – forgiveness is something that God does. When Jesus tells people that their sins are forgiven the folks hearing those words thought that Jesus was blaspheming, only God can do that. Who do you think you are? Only God can forgive.

Imagine living in a culture, in a world, where forgiveness is withheld. God might forgive you, but I don’t have to.

We don’t have to imagine that! Many of us live that way.

Why don’t we forgive? 

 

Refer to the following scriptures and answer/discuss the following questions.
Genesis 42:3-12, Genesis 44:1-9, Genesis 50:15-21

  1. At what point in the story of Joseph and his brothers do you think Joseph sincerely forgave his brothers? Why do you think he returned the silver to their bags during their first visit?

 

  1. In the story of Joseph and his brothers, what part did the asking of forgiveness play? How did forgiveness accomplish God’s plan?

 

  1. Can you imagine anything harder to forgive than being sold into slavery? What is the hardest thing to forgive that you’ve seen or heard of?

 

  1. How do you think Joseph felt once he had completely forgiven his brothers? How do you think God feels when he forgives us?

 

Read the following excerpt aloud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Frozen – Seek Forgiveness”.

Watch Online

In his book – A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness – Richard Smoley gives 3 reasons.

  • It feels good not to forgive. There is something delicious about holding a grievance, he calls this the thrill of righteousness.
  • We don’t forgive because of our sense of justice.
  • Self-preservation. There is a basic need in all of us for self-preservation.

Refer to the following scriptures and answer/discuss the following questions.
Luke 11:4, Luke 17:3-4, Luke 23:34, Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 18:21-22

  1. How could lack of forgiveness make your faith grow cold?

 

  1. How have you seen these reasons at work in your life or the lives of others?

 

  1. Why do you think each of the reasons quoted above are included as reasons why people don’t forgive?

 

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. How could lack of forgiveness cause your faith to grow cold?

 

  1. In the message we heard, “You see, being a Christian involves asking Jesus to forgive us. And he does. He does not hesitate. He does not panic. He does not demand some sort of payment. He says, ‘Yes, yes I forgive you.’”

 

Can we do any less for others that what Jesus does for us?

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study:

  • James 2:12-13
  • Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Matthew 7:1-5
  • Matthew 18:23-35

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

Frozen Lesson1

Embrace the Change

New Year’s Eve Message

“Embrace the Change”

(December 31, 2017 – January 6, 2018)

Think of the possibilities! Small changes could result in small “wins”. Small wins generate a string of wins. A string of victories builds momentum. Momentum sets the stage for life changing opportunities! Change comes as we notice and tend to the small matters – the mundane. Instead of waiting for every detail to come down from on high, or instead of trying to meet every expectation; we experience change when we act in faith on the next small thing that is in front of us!

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. What changes would you like to see happen around you – in your own life and in the world around you?

 

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Embrace The Change”.

We must move into our new life viewing ourselves the way Jesus views us. Embrace the change Jesus has already done in our lives.

The New Year brings about an excitement, a hope that the future will be different than the past. I think some of the most important changes have already taken place!

Refer to 2 Corinthians 5:17 & Ephesians 1:3-8 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Considering 2 Corinthians 5:17, make a list of parts of your old life that are gone now that you follow Christ.

 

 

  1. After reading Ephesians 1:3-8 list ways that you have been experiencing God’s favor, or blessing, in your life.

 

 

  1. How does it happen that we take for granted the good that Jesus is bringing about in our lives?

 

  1. How would your attitude change if you focused more on the changes that Jesus is already making rather than focusing on your actions or traits that you want to see changed?

 

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Embrace The Change”.

Are you keeping track? God has given us every spiritual blessing in all of heaven! Because of his great love for us we are set apart as holy – made faultless. Adopted into his family, his prized children who are so dearly loved our adoption cause great pleasure in God and rejoicing in all of heaven.

Ephesians 1:6 (NLT) says, “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.”

I hope we respond with praise! So God’s grace is poured out on us. It is joyful and there is pleasure and God is delighted to make us his.

Refer to Ephesians 1:7-10 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Itemize a list of at least 7 personal, specific sins that you have committed anytime during your lifetime. Consider and discuss the price that Jesus paid to free you from the guilt and the continuing power of these sins in your life.

 

 

  1. Considering how God is pouring his grace onto you, discuss a number of ways (actions) you can praise him for his generous gifts.

 

 

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. Knowing you are forgiven in Christ, what are ways you are now free to be a different person?

 

  1. Write a prayer of commitment to the Lord about the changes you would like Christ to make in your life in the next 12 months of your life.

 

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study

If you have time during your Small Group or you want to study more about message topic, read and consider the following passages:

  • Colossians 3:1-11
  • 1 Peter 1:1-25
  • 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

 

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

Embrace the Change Lesson 1

When You Wish Upon a Star Lesson #4

“When You Wish Upon a Star”

“Christmas Eve”

(December 24-30, 2017)

Here I Am to Worship”:

Light of the world you step down into darkness
Opened my eyes let me see
Beauty that makes this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You

So here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that your my God
Your altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me.

– Tim Hughes, 2000

In this lesson, we will learn how “the light of the world that stepped down into darkness” – Jesus – changes lives.

Answer and discuss the following question with your group. 

  1. What do you like least about or are the most afraid of in the dark?

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Christmas Eve”.

Watch Online

Jesus has this little light to shine on every situation we face. Every temptation that we face. Some of us here – most of us here – stumble over the same temptation – we have promised over and over again – not going to do that anymore – and then we trip over it, because we are unwilling to turn the light on that temptation. Jesus came to turn the light on in our darkness. Not only do we stumble in the dark, but we get scared.

Refer to John 1:1-9 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. As you are reading John 1:1-9, make a list of what you learn about Jesus and his being the light.

 

  1. All of us have areas in our lives where we stumble in our Christian walk. What are some common “stumbling blocks” for Christians?

 

 

  1. Have you ever been overcome by darkness due to personal circumstances either brought on by yourself or brought by others? What makes us so afraid in those circumstances?

 

  1. How does what you learned about Jesus from John1:1-9 provide comfort and hope in these circumstances?

 

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Christmas Eve”.

Watch Online

For the last few weeks we have been talking about stars. Abraham was promised that he would be the father of a great nation. “Look to the stars. Try to count them. That is what it will be like for you and your family.” The promise of Jesus, the star that came from Heaven, the star that hung out over the town of Bethlehem that pointed the way –But the star of Christmas is now you. Jesus believes in you. You can make the difference. You can shine a light.

Refer to Mathew 5:14-16 and Philippians 2:12-15 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Read Mathew 5:14-16. Jesus not only came into the world to be light, but to help us be light for others. In your opinion, what are these verses talking about and how do we do what is described?

 

  1. Read Philippians 2:12-15. These verses tell us more about being a light to the world. What does it require from us?

 

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. Knowing Jesus is the light that shows us the way and keeps us from stumbling or being afraid, what would you like to praise God for?

 

  1. Knowing not only did Jesus come into the world to be a light, but calls us to be a light in the world, what next steps could you take to be a light in someone else’s life?

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study

If you have time during your Small Group or you want to study more about message topic, read and consider the following passages:

  • 2 Timothy 1:10
  • 1 Peter 2:9
  • 2 Peter 1:19
  • Psalm 18:28
  • Psalm 27:1

 

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

When You Wish Upon a Star Lesson4

When You Wish Upon a Star Lesson #3

“When You Wish Upon a Star” 

Star of Bethlehem

Matthew 2:1-12; Jeremiah 29:11-13

(December 17-23, 2017)

I have climbed highest mountain

I have run through the fields

Only to be with you, only to be with you

I have run

I have crawled

I have scaled these city walls, these city walls

Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I believe in the kingdom come

Then all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one

Well yes I’m still running

You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains

Carried the cross of my shame, of my shame

You know I believed it

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2

The popular song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by the rock group U2 has won two Grammy awards and been placed on different magazine lists as being among the greatest rock songs of all time. The song makes the important point that true and eternal meaning will not be found by searching for the things of this world, but instead by putting your faith in the one who broke the bonds, loosed the chains and carried the cross of our shame. In the last line of this song, lead singer Bono sings “You know I believed it.” Do you believe it?

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. Describe a time when you searched for something important to you, i.e., something valuable that you or a loved one lost, an address to a job interview, etc. Did you ultimately find what you were looking for?

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Star of Bethlehem”.

Watch Online

Most books tell us to go for your dreams, set some high goals, be disciplined, believe in yourself, invest in yourself, never give up. And those things can certainly lead us to success. But some of us in this room today have achieved high success, we have it made. We have more than we ever thought possible, but could still sing “but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

I want us to take a look today at a familiar Christmas moment.

Read Matthew 2:1-12 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Matthew 2:1-12 contains the popular account of the wise men from the east searching for Jesus after his birth. What do verses 2 and 4 reveal about Jesus’ identity?

 

  1. In verses 3-6, the leading priests and teachers of the religious law quote prophecy from Micah 5:2 to show that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. Explain how the fulfillment of this prophecy from Micah, written approximately 700 years before Jesus’ birth, supports Jesus’ divine identity as the Messiah.

 

  1. The account of wise men searching for Jesus is the first event described in Matthew 2 immediately following Jesus’ birth in Matthew 1. Why is it important that the Bible shows people searching for Jesus right after he was born? Explain. Based on verses 2 and 11, why were the wise men searching for Jesus and what did they do when they found him?

 

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Star of Bethlehem”.

Watch Online

Some of you here today are seeking Jesus. You are on an honest search for meaning and purpose in your life. You are asking questions and you are being intellectually honest. You are going to find him. Do you know how close you are to him right now?

It is not a two-hour journey; it is just one step. That is how close you are. One step. The step that says “YES” to him. You don’t need any more research or one more Sunday service. You are just scared. I understand that, but I don’t want you to go one more day without finding Jesus. For you it is just a matter of surrender.

Read Matthew 2:1-12 again and Jeremiah 29:11-13 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Describe the different responses, and different motivations, of the wise men and King Herod concerning Jesus. How are these same responses and motivations evident in our culture today concerning Jesus?

 

  1. Based on Jeremiah 29:11-13, what will happen when we genuinely search for Jesus?

 

  1. When the wise men found Jesus, they gave him gifts of gold, frankincense (sweet perfume used in temple sacrifices) and myrrh (a spice used in a person’s burial). Explain the connection between worship and giving. Can you worship Jesus without truly surrendering and committing to him? Explain.

 

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. Bono, the lead singer of U2, has described the song quoted above as “a kind of gospel song with a restless spirit.” Do you have a restless spirit or have you found what you are looking for?

 

  1. Answering honestly, who do you think Jesus is? If you are searching for lasting meaning and fulfillment, based on Matthew 2:1-12 explain the only place where you will find it.

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study

If you have time during your Small Group or you want to study more about who Jesus is and establishing a relationship with him, read and consider the following passages:

  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Hosea 11:1
  • John 1:29
  • John 7:42

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

When You Wish Upon a Star Lesson3

When You Wish Upon A Star Lesson #2

“When You Wish Upon a Star”
The Morning Star

(December 10-16, 2017)

The Christmas Song

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,

Jack Frost nipping at your nose,

Yuletide carols being sung by a choir

And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe

Help to make the season bright.

Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow

Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa’s on his way

He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh

And ev’ry mother’s child is gon’na spy

To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

And so I’m offering this simple phrase

To kids from one to ninety-two

Although it’s been said many times,

Many ways: “Merry Christmas to you”!

– Mel Torme and Bob Wells

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. When you think of Christmas, what are the things you think about? What are your favorite traditions?

Read the following excerpt aloud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Morning Star”.

Watch Online

Now anyone can claim to be God. Anyone. It would not take too long for you to figure out that I am not God. I can claim it – I just can’t back it up.

C.S. Lewis wrote – either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit on him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall on your feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about him being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.

Refer to the following scriptures and answer/discuss the following questions.
Mark 2:5, John 5:21, John 14:9, John 8:19, John 8:56-58, John 17:5

  1. Have you heard people argue that Jesus was just a great teacher? What was your reaction?

 

  1. Assuming you believed that Jesus was just a great teacher, and not God, would you be able to rationalize the things he said in the verses above?

 

  1. Which of these verses do you think best support C.S. Lewis’ assertion that Jesus was either God or he was a mad man?

Read the following excerpt aloud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Morning Star”.

Watch Online

Of course salvation is found in no one else. No one else. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through him.

All of these people, who had watched him die, who helped bury him, who truly believed that the dream was over – saw him alive.

We did not make this stuff up. All of it is true. This is a light shining out in a dark place. The light of the world has come. We were eyewitnesses to his majesty.

Those followers – believers – later on were crucified; fed to lions; beheaded for proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of the living God. You don’t die for a lie. You don’t die for a fairy tale. When the pressure was on you just walk away. It is just not worth it.

But when you are totally convinced of the truth – there is no denying the fact that you saw him walking around after he had died on a cross – you have no choice. You have no choice but to be transformed.

Refer to the following scriptures and answer/discuss the following questions.
2 Peter 1:16-21, John 10:38, 1 Cor. 15:3-7, Acts 4:12,

  1. When Peter refers to the Morning Star, to what do you think he is referring? What were the reasons Peter gave for believing? If you had seen all that the disciples saw, how would you have responded? How do you respond today?

 

  1. In John 10:38 why does Jesus say the doubters should believe? What should they believe?

 

  1. In 1 Corinthians Paul describes many people who were eye witnesses to the resurrection. Does this seem like strong historical evidence of Christ’s resurrection? Why do you think some people still refuse to believe?

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. Does it seem that our culture has reduced Christmas to a set of fairy tales? How does it make you feel? What ways have you found to keep Christ at the center of Christmas?

 

  1. How do you think Christmas would be different if the world believed the baby was God? What will you do this Christmas to emphasize God’s gift to us?

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study:

  • John 14:1-11
  • John 8:42-47
  • Matthew 17:1-8
  • Revelation 22:3-6

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

When You Wish Upon A Star Lesson.2

When You Wish Upon a Star Lesson #1

“When You Wish Upon a Star”
Starry Night

(December 3-9 2017) 

The Ugly Duckling

There were kings of the orient

Bringing gifts to the child

Through the fields and deserts they came

Messiah was worth every mile

Star of wonder, star of light

Star with royal beauty bright

Westward leading, still proceeding

Guide us to thy perfect light

– Star of Wonder, JJ Heller

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. When you think of stars, what comes to mind? Christmas songs? Something scientific? The wonder of God? Have you ever considered how improbable it would have been for the wise men to find Jesus on their own?

Read the following excerpt aloud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Starry Night”.

Watch Online

Sarah becomes concerned that God is not going to make this promise happen with her body. So she tells Abraham, “You should have sex with my Egyptian servant named Hagar. Maybe you can build your family that way. I am never going to have kids.”
In perhaps the dumbest moment in Abraham’s life, look what happens.

You see, when we think we know better than God, we mess up his plans. God was not worried or concerned about timing. He was going to see His promise through. Abraham is 85 when this happens. He is old enough to know better. Abraham does have a son through this arrangement, but that is not the beginning of the promise.

Refer to the following scriptures and answer/discuss the following questions.
Genesis 12:1-4, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 16:2, Hebrews 11:8-12

  1. In what ways did Abraham demonstrate his faith?
  2. Can you identify any times when Abraham’s faith faltered? What do you think caused his faith to waver?
  3. Have you ever been anxious that something you’ve prayed earnestly about would not happen? How did you handle that?
  4. Are you sometimes tempted to take things into your own hands as Abraham and Sarah did? Why do you think that happens?

Read the following excerpt aloud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Starry Night”.

Watch Online

He receives his son back to life. Abraham knows that God can be trusted. Completely trusted. Abraham breathes again. So does Isaac. So did Sarah.

What do we learn here? God can be trusted. Do we believe that God can be trusted? If not, we will throw obedience out the window? If God can’t be trusted, faith is not a factor. If God is not trustworthy, if God goes back on his word, if he lies; then this is all over after today. We don’t need to be here.

But if we believe that God is trustworthy; then the response we can have is, “Here I am.”

Refer to the following scriptures and answer/discuss the following questions.
Genesis 21:1-6, Genesis 22:1-12, 1 John 2:2

  1. Why do you think God waited until Abraham and Sarah were so old before fulfilling his promise? Do you think the long wait strengthened Abraham’s trust? How?
  2. How did Abraham respond when God spoke to him? Did his actions demonstrate his trust? Do you think God tests our faith and trust at times? How?

 Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. Do you feel God urging you in a direction? Or do you feel God urging you to leave anything behind that might be limiting your ability to follow?
  2. Does this message and lesson increase your ability to trust God? How does your trust in God affect the way you live your life?

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study:

  • 1 Corinthians 13:6-7
  • Romans 9:33
  • John 14:1-4
  • Revelation 22:6-7

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

When You Wish Upon A Star Lesson #1

Can`t Buy Me Lesson #4

“Can’t Buy Me”

“Salvation”

Mark 10:45, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 1:18-21

(November 26-December 2, 2017)

According to a 2016 survey completed by Lifeway Research, 60 percent of Americans surveyed said Jesus’ death is “the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of their sin.” Seventy-seven percent believe people must make efforts to receive personal salvation, with 52 percent seeing good deeds as a way to reach heaven. Overall, about half of Americans (54 percent) say only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone receive eternal salvation. Lifeway Research, September 2016.

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. What things do you put your trust in?

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Can’t Buy Me Salvation”

Watch Online

Salvation is a very broad term used by many religions. For Christ followers, salvation starts with redemption. Redemption is the specific result of Jesus’ death on the cross. “To redeem” means to set free by paying a price.

Refer to the following scriptures Mark 10:45, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 1:18-21 answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. In the message we see, “Sin puts us into DEBT. We can be trapped, taken captive – by others hurting us, or by our own selfish focus. We don’t follow God’s plan and sin.” What does it mean to you that sin puts us into debt?
  2. Read Mark 10:45, 2Corinthians 5:21 and 1Peter 1:18-21. What do you learn about Jesus and the redemption process in these verses?
  3. So if our sin puts us in debt to God and Jesus’s death on the cross redeems us from this debt, what does it require on our part?

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Can’t Buy Me Salvation”.

Watch Online

Can’t buy redemption and we can’t buy new life. Both are given as a gift. For Christ followers the laws and commandments of God are NOT OUR WAY to buy salvation – redemption or holiness. But they are our way to be part of answering the Lord’s prayer that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The Lord’s commands are still his will. He is our Lord. We still seek to do his will. But it is NOT IN ORDER TO be saved, BUT BECAUSE we are saved.

Refer to the following scriptures Gal. 5:6b, 1 Peter 4:17-18, 1 Peter 2:22-25 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. If we seek to do God’s will because we are saved and according to Gal. 5:6b “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” What should the Christian life look like?
  2. According to the survey mentioned at the beginning of the study, only 40 percent of Americans said those who reject or don’t believe in Jesus will be sent to hell. According to 1 Peter 4:17-18, what do you learn about the time of judgement for Christ followers and those that do not follow Christ?
  3. Read 1 Peter 2:22-25. Share with the group your story of redemption.

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. How would you explain to a non-believer the debt we owe to God and the gift of salvation?
  2. Share with the group one thing you can thank God for in the prayer time related to your salvation.

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study

If you have time during your Small Group or you want to study more about message topic, read and consider the following passages:

  • Ephesians 2:8
  • Ephesians 3:7
  • Romans 6:23

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

Can’t Buy Me Lesson #4

Can`t Buy Me Lesson #3

“Can’t Buy Me… Happiness”

Matthew 5:1-12

(November 19- 25, 2017)

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”

—The Declaration of Independence, 1776

            On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress, comprised of many founding fathers of our country, adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration declared the independence of the first colonies from the tyranny of King George III of England. The Declaration established a government of self-rule by representation based on “unalienable Rights” given to all people by God. By declaring the right to pursue “happiness,” the founding fathers were not referring to the pursuit of a temporary sense of joy, but declaring the right of people “endowed by their Creator” to flourish and find lasting joy in freedom, rather than live under a military rule.

            In Galatians 5:1, the Apostle Paul declared, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Have you declared your independence from sin? Are you pursuing the true happiness endowed by your Creator?

Answer and discuss the following question with your group.

  1. Where would you say is the happiest place you have ever been (i.e., a vacation destination, a wedding chapel, a graduation party, etc.). Describe what made this place happy and memorable.

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #1.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Can’t Buy Me…Happiness”.

Watch Online

Blessed really is more like, “oh the blessedness of….” Usually this word describes the person who is favored by God and therefore happy.

The poor in spirit are the ones who are blessed because theirs is the kingdom of heaven. To be poor in spirit is to realize that without God I have nothing.

The kingdom of heaven is not given to you or anyone based on race, based on how religious you are, not based on military zeal or how much money you have. It is given to the prostitute who realizes that without God she has nothing. It is given to the tax collector who realizes how truly poor he is without God. It is given to anyone who realizes that they are so poor that they bring nothing and do not try. They cry for mercy and that is enough.

Read Matthew 5:1-3 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Matthew 5 contains what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount, during which Jesus instructed a crowd of followers with several “beatitudes” (or statements of

     blessings) to describe those who are happy. This lesson focuses on the first four beatitudes. Based on verses 3-6, describe each person who is blessed or happy. Would the world view these people as “blessed”?

  1. Based on verse 3, what blessing can result from being poor? Which is better, being wealthy or recognizing your need to rely on God? Explain.
  2. How does the beatitude in verse 3 show God’s love for anyone who realizes their need for him?

Read the following excerpt out loud or watch message segment #2.

An excerpt from the StoneBridge message, “Can’t Buy Me…Happiness”.

Watch Online

Happy are those who depend on God.

Happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. This one seems odd. Happy are those who mourn. The word for “mourn” here carries a big weight. It is the kind of grief that cannot be hid. It is the kind of sorrow that aches. There are three ways to look at this. Perhaps Jesus is talking about losing someone close. We know that God can and does work through the pain of life. Happiness can happen. It is often surprising how often laughter and tears flow together. I do think that is especially true for those who are in the kingdom of heaven. Hope of heaven assures in joy, even in sorrow. It is not a false happiness, but an ache in our heart that is comforted by the presence of Christ. He is with us.

The main thought of this phrase though has to do with the sorrow of our sin. Happy is the man who is desperately sorry for his own sin. The message of the kingdom of heaven is clear.

Read Matthew 5:4-6 and answer/discuss the following questions.

  1. Why are those who mourn described as blessed? Describe some blessings that can come from being comforted. How does this beatitude describe the nature of God when we repent and seek him?
  2. Based on verse 5, is being humble and meek a sign of weakness or strength? Explain how being humble and meek before God provides the correct perspective of who God is and who is really in control.
  3. Does verse 6 describe someone who is a “good person” or someone who earnestly seeks God’s way to live? Explain the difference.

Reflection and Wrap-up

  1. Explain a time in your life when you felt blessed because:
  • difficult circumstances led you to rely on God instead of yourself;
  • you felt fully accepted by God and grateful for his grace;
  • you recognized God was in control; or
  • you realized the difference between being a good person and being righteous based on God’s forgiveness.
  1. As noted in the introduction above, our country was founded on a declaration that all people enjoy rights given by God, including the right to pursue happiness. Based on this lesson, how would you define “happiness”? Are you pursuing true happiness? If not, what steps do you need to take to declare your independence from sin?

Pray Together as a Group

Additional Study

If you have time during your Small Group or you want to study more about finding happiness in God, read and consider the following passages:

  • Acts 2:38
  • Numbers 12:3
  • Proverbs 16:23

For the printable PDF of this lesson, click the following link:

Can’t Buy Me Lesson #3

Can’t Buy Me Lesson #2

“Can Buy Me … Peace & Security”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

(Nov. 12-18, 2017)

He [God] requires no great matters of us: a little remembrance of Him from time to time; a little adoration; sometimes to pray for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, and sometimes to return Him thanks for the favors He has given you, and still gives you, in the midst of your troubles, and to console yourself with Him the oftenest you can. Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him.

You need not cry very loud; He is nearer to us than we are aware of.

– Practicing the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence, circa 1666.

read more…