Embrace

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

• What/who do you embrace most easily?

• What/who is difficult for you to embrace?

• Can you imagine being as receptive and obedient to God as Mary?

• Does Christ live in you?

Prepare

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

  • How are you preparing for Christ?

  • Who prepared the way for you to know Jesus?

  • How are you, like John the Baptist, preparing the way for others to know Jesus?

  • Who are you preparing the way for?

  • In what ways does your life point to Jesus?

  • Who are five people you could invite to church for Christmas Eve? Will you?

  • Reflect on the quotes. Which words or phrases touch you the most?

Habits of Gratitude

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

  • What are your gratitude habits?

  • How do you express gratitude?

  • What are you grateful for?

  • What do you feel entitled to?

  • Are you more of an “abundance” mindset person or a “scarcity” mindset person?

  • Are you a “glass half full” or glass half empty” kind of person?

  • Do you agree that the most grateful people tend to be the most generous? Why or why not?


All Will Be Well

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

  • Whose death are you still grieving?

  • How would you describe “grief” to someone who hasn’t experienced it?

  • Are you afraid of death? Why or why not?

  • How are you preparing to die?

  • What do you think heaven will be like?


Look Around

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • What’s your favorite Christmas memory?

  • When did the light of Christ first shine in your darkness?

  • Reflect on MLK’s quote, “This Christmas season finds us a rather

    bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace

    without.” Do you think that is still true, today? Why, or why not?

  • How does the story of Christ’s birth affect your understanding of God?

  • Howard Thurman said, “The true meaning of Christmas is expressed

    in sharing of one’s graces in a world in which it is so easy to become callous, insensitive, and hard.” What graces will you be sharing with the world, this Christmas?

  • What if “Bethlehem Revisited” is our opportunity to invite the people walking in darkness to come home?

My Financial Health

Are you going to serve almighty God, or the almighty dollar? Pastor Vance brings us a message on financial health.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

  • How do you define stewardship?

  • What do your monthly expenses and debts say about your priorities?

  • How much do you save and give, compared to how much you earn?

  • Do you tithe? If not, why? 

  • What keeps you from earning, saving and giving more than you do?

  • Do you believe, “In Christ there will always be enough?”


My Relational Health

On World Communion Sunday, we celebrate the diversity of our congregation. Pastors Vance, Josias, and Sheryl shared with us about how important cross cultural relationships are.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

What non-work relationships do you have outside of your own cultural/ethnic identity?

What hinders you from developing relationships with people of other cultures, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds?

What do you value most about your own particular cultural experience?

Who do you know, from a different culture/ethnicity, that you could pursue a deeper relationship with?

How do you feel about First Church being a church of 30+ nationalities? How would you feel if First Church became increasingly multi-ethnic/multi-cultural? How would God feel about that?


My Emotional Health

Pastor Liedmar Lopes, from the Brazilian Alliance Church, brings us a message on Emotional Transformation.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

What are you feeling, right now?

When and how do you “feel” God?

Why did God makes us “emotional?”

When do you “feel” closest to God?

When does God “feel” far from you?

When have your emotions/feelings been unreliable?

When have your emotions/feelings blessed you?

When have your emotions/feelings led you to sin?


My Mental Health

Mental Transformation is possible! We must push past the lies we believe to have a renewing of our mind.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

  • Why are lies so much easier to believe than truth?

  • Which of the “lies,” Vance mentioned, do you tend to believe? Can you see how those lies are negatively affecting your life?

  • What do you fill your thoughts with?

  • Who influences your thoughts?

  • How are you filling your mind with spiritual truth? Is it sufficient to combat the lies?


My Physical Health

Pastor Sheryl looks at physical Transformation and how we can use our bodies to glorify God.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation…

  • Is your body a sacred space?

  • How will you glorify God with your body?

My Spiritual Health

Pastor Vance kicks off our new church-wide study, Transformed, with a message on spiritual transformation.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • What seems to get in the way of your spiritual growth?

  • Which of the “tools of discipleship” do you currently utilize? Which

    ones would you consider trying?

  • What has caused the most spiritual growth in your life?

  • Reflect on the image of spiritual growth as a form apprenticeship. Are

    you still an apprentice, a novice, or becoming a master?

  • Reflect on the Bonhoeffer quote. Do you agree or disagree?

Transformed

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • How has/is following Christ transformed/transforming you?

  • In what ways are your values more shaped by the world, or more

    shaped by following Christ?

  • In what ways is your spiritual life a “form of godliness, denying it’s

    power?”

  • What is one small goal you could set and pursue for the next seven

    weeks, in each of the seven areas of transformation:

    1. Your Spiritual Health:

    2. Your Physical Health:

    3. Your Mental Health:

    4. Your Emotional Health:

    5. Your Relational Health:

    6. Your Financial Health:

    7. Your Vocational Health:

  • Have you signed up for a small group, yet?

  • Do you want to be transformed?

God's Provision, God's Presence?

Have you lived out your Christian journey in a contract rather than in covenant? Pastor Sheryl explains the difference.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • What now?

  • At the end of the Journey through Exodus, how have you come to

    understand God more fully?

  • Do you, honestly, yearn to know God more fully?

  • Reflect on Aaron’s leadership . . . how have we chosen to persuade our

    leaders to do what we want rather than what God asks of them?

  • What changes do you have to make in order to more intentionally favor

    God’s presence rather than God’s provision?

  • What was the most challenging thing you heard in today’s sermon?

    Why is it challenging and what will you do about it? How will it strengthen your walk with the Lord?

The Servants of the Lord

There is no fence between us and God. There is a Savior between us and God.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • How do you understand the meaning of animal sacrifice?

  • How do you understand the difference between the offering of animal

    sacraments in the Tabernacle and the monetary offerings we present in

    the offering plate?

  • Why didn’t animal sacrifices work?

  • If we lived during the times of the Exodus, what sin would you need to

    sacrifice an animal for?

  • What does Hebrews 10:19 (we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus) mean?

 

The House of the Lord

What makes a space holy? Join Pastor Vance as he looks at how the Christian sanctuary has evolved.

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • Where are some places you have experienced the presence of Christ?

  • Why do people of faith seem to be drawn to sacred places?

  • All of the Israelites, in some way, contributed to the creation of the

    Tabernacle. What are some ways you contribute to the worship of God

    at First Church?

  • What does it mean to worship God in “Spirit and in Truth?”

  • Are we stuck in a place, or are we ready to “GO” when God moves?

 

The Laws of the Lord

Faithfulness and obedience. Law and freedom. We don't usually think of these as being cohesive. But, according to God's word, they are. Pastor Vance takes a look at the Ten Commandments and how we can interpret them with a fresh perspective. 

Questions for Further Reflection and Conversation...

  • Before Sunday, could you name all Ten Commandments?

  • Which of the Ten Commandments is hardest for you to keep? What are

    you going to do about it?

  • What is the relationship between law and liberty?

  • Why do we need law?

  • What is the relationship between faith and obedience?

  • What is the relationship of Law (the Ten Commandments) and love (The

    Great Commandments?)

  • How do you understand the “New Covenant?”