- Read Mark 8:1-9. What partnership is demonstrated in this passage as it relates to meeting human needs? What does this partnership teach us about meeting needs today? What does it teach us about giving?
- Still focusing on Mark 8:1-9. Discuss what Jesus did and did not do in meeting human needs?
- Read Matthew 25:31-46 as a group. Give focus to verses 34‑40 and discuss what message is being conveyed. Now consider all the verses here and discuss their implication to our lives today.
- How do we strike a balance between meeting the temporal and eternal needs of humanity? What does Jesus teach us about keeping the right focus as we minister to others in Mark 14:7?
- How are you doing on meeting the temporal, physical and spiritual needs of others? What is hindering you from doing more?
- Share briefly of a time when someone helped you.
“But no human being can tame the tongue” (James 3:8).
There are few things that are more powerful than words. At the very beginning of the Scriptures, we are told of the power of God’s words. It was by God’s words that everything came into existence. It is fascinating to see that same power operating in and through the words of Jesus. Every word that came out of Jesus’ lips had the purpose of healing, restoring and uplifting all those he encountered.
Can you imagine Jesus putting someone down? He knew very well the truth found in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Through his words, Jesus healed the sick, forgave the sinners, freed the demon possessed, comforted those who mourned, welcomed the children, welcomed the rejected, convicted the sinners and raised the dead.
Can you believe that the same power is in your words? Let’s be clear. The Scriptures tell us that with our tongues (our words), we have the capacity to give life or to destroy life. We rarely stop to think about this powerful truth. However, each day of our lives, we have opportunities to use the most powerful instrument God has given us. Today, Jesus wants to use your words to lift people up, restore and to heal the wounds in the heart of your family and friends.
I challenge you to summit your tongue to Christ. Let your tongue be controlled and seasoned by the Holy Spirit. You will marvel of what God will be able to do in and through you.
- If you look up the word hope, “confident desire” and “trust” mark two of the five possible uses of the term. How do these two concepts fit into the biblical definition of hope? Read Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 37:4 and Proverbs 11:23.
- Read Romans 5:1-6. According to verse 3 and 4, what produces hope in us?
- According to Romans 5:3-4, which of the following things is most closely related to our hope: tribulation, perseverance or character? Why is this so closely connected to hope?
- Much focus is given to Christians’ faith and love, but how does hope impact our spiritual journeys [Colossians 1:5 and 1 Thessalonians 1:3]?
- Christians often talk about their faith and love. We’ll even ask for prayer to help with waning faith or greater love. But when was the last time you had a conversation about the state of your hope or someone else’s hope? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the greatest, how would you rate your hope at this time? Why did you give the response you did?
- What can you do to foster greater hope in your life and the lives around you?
- The Command to Wait
“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’” (Acts 1:4-5, ESV).
So many times we get in a hurry to do something for Jesus that we neglect spending time with Jesus. Being precedes doing. We become more like Jesus as we spend time in His presence.
- The Promise of Power
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, ESV).
Being in the presence of Jesus is an empowering experience. We believe in continual fillings of the Holy Spirit. It is not a one-time experience. In fact, we are commanded to be continually filled. When the Holy Spirit fills you, it will affect your tongue. You will speak in tongues, prophesy, express passionate praise and be a bold witness.
- Jesus’ Promise to Come Again
“And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into Heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into Heaven’” (Acts 1:10-11, ESV).
This is called the blessed hope. This life is not all there is; there is more. There is a real place called Heaven and Jesus promises to return to take us there. The best thing about Heaven is not the streets of gold or gates made of a single pearl, but that we will be with Jesus; will see Him and embrace Him.
- Spend extravagant time with Jesus every day.
- Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Long for heaven and being with Jesus.
- Read Acts 4:12 out loud. Why might we personally struggle to recognize that good people and even spiritual people are not saved and will spend eternity in Hell if they do not fully accept and live by the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord of all before departing this world?
- Re-read Acts 4:12 and then read John 3:15-17, John 10:9 and John 14:6 out loud. How is Christianity inclusive and exclusive at the same time?
- Do you believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ truly changes people? Why or why not? What does 2 Corinthians 5:17 imply about life in Christ? Does your life reflect this change? Why or why not?
- Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven? If so, is your belief actively demonstrated in witnessing to this truth? Explain your answer. Are you good at leading others to Christ? If not, what effort have you made to change that shortcoming?
- When was the last time you did a Bible study for or with mostly unbelievers? Read Romans 10:17. What does it reveal about the value of Bible studies for unbelievers? How many in your Engage group have ever participated in a Bible study of mostly unbelievers?
After Jesus was crucified, His disciples were traumatized and lost in confusion as they tried to figure out what had gone wrong and what they should do next. Their hearts were broken by the loss of someone they had loved so much. They struggled with disillusionment and disappointment as they considered the future that now seemed hopeless. And then Jesus suddenly appeared and everything began to change. He saw their struggle and according to Luke 24:45 He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Take a moment and think about what Jesus did and what He didn’t do. He helped the disciples to understand the Scriptures. He helped them by giving them a revelation of the truth. He didn’t change their circumstances. Their lives were forever marked by Jesus’ crucifixion and their lives were in danger as a result of their relationship with Him. Jesus did not rescue them from their circumstances. Instead, He gave them a revelation of the truth and restored their hope.
Today, Jesus is offering you a revelation of the truth and hope through His Word. No matter what is going on in your life right now, you can find hope in the inspired words of God found in Scripture. God may not change your circumstances, but He will give you understanding if you will seek Him. As you read the Scriptures today, I pray that God will touch your mind with a fresh life changing revelation of His truth.
- Read Matthew 28:19 out loud as a class. Now read it again and replace the word nation with the word ethnicities. How many cross-cultural relationships do you currently foster?
- Read Galatians 2:11-16.
- What is the greatest bond between two believers?
- What was Peter’s problem?
- Do you ever struggle with prejudice in your heart?
- What may be influencing you toward some form of prejudice?
- How can you work to not make the same mistake as Peter?
- In addition to ethnic diversity, what are several other areas in which Christians must strive to avoid prejudice?
- Read Genesis 11:1-9 out loud as a group. Then read the commentary below.
- Among all of creation’s diversity, human cultural diversity—ethnic and linguistic differences—is also part of God’s good creation. Sometimes, Christians view cultural diversity as part of the fallen world, as a curse. The biblical narrative of the Tower of Babel [Genesis 11:1-9] is often used to justify such a negative view. A closer reading, however, suggests that God’s confusion of “tongues” or languages at Babel was not a curse but more a tool of God’s grace. The central sin of Babel is not simply pride in trying to unify the world…even though that is implicated. Rather, the Babel builders’ sin is trying to define their corporate identity apart from God. To “make a name” (v. 4) for oneself means more than just becoming famous. Names in the Old Testament and in the Bible as a whole are supposed to capture the object’s essence or character; you are what your name is, so to speak. Thus, making a name here also means they are trying to define who they are apart from God. This “self-naming project” is linked to both their unification project and their building project: “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (v. 4, NIV). There’s evidence to suggest that this story was composed with a glance toward the Babylonian empire. The land of Shinar (v. 2) is connected to Babylon and the word babel in the Babylonian language means “gate of god.” As such, the name or identity that the Babel builders seek for themselves is to be “the gate of god,” a heaven on earth. They desired to make their own perfect society by means of technology (v. 3), architecture (v. 4) and by implication through political and religious means. This is similar to Babylon’s empire building (an allusion that would not be lost on ancient Israelites) symbolized by Babylon’s ziggurat towers that purports to be gateways to the gods. However, babel in Hebrew is “confusion” or even, “folly.” Hence, Genesis mocks the Babylonians. They think they are building heaven on earth, but in reality, they are confused and foolish. Therefore, God’s confusion of them is a means to prevent them from a foolish idolatrous identity of making projects that reject God’s name and identity. God’s intervention and creation of diverse languages actually forced them to fulfill God’s original command in Genesis 1:28 to “fill the earth and subdue it,” something which these Babel builders were afraid to do. They were afraid of being “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth,” a phrase repeated three times (verses 4, 8 and 9). Human cultural and linguistic diversity, then, fulfills a redemptive purpose in God’s plan; it is not a curse.
- Considering what you have just read, what should be the most multicultural institution in the world? Why? What is your personal part in God’s redemptive plan? Discuss these thoughts as a group.
- Read Mathew 7:21-27. What needs to change in your life?
Trinity Chapel Assembly of God
8617 Whipps Mill Rd br>
Louisville, KY 40222 br>
(502) 425-1636 br>
Sunday Service: 10:30 AM
Family Night Activities: Wednesdays at 7pm